INTA’s Latin America Global Advisory Council Seeks to Increase Cooperation, Stability, and Harmonization in the Region

Published: March 8, 2023

Diana Arredondo, Inc. Seattle, Washington, USA Global Advisory Council - Latin America

Margarita Romero

Margarita Romero Romero Corral Abogados Quito, Ecuador Global Advisory Council - Latin America

INTA’s Global Advisory Councils (GACs) consist of members in eight regions globally who advise the Association leadership on the implementation of INTA’s Strategic Plan in the respective regions. Among the GAC’s principal functions are to raise relevant intellectual property (IP) issues in each region; provide feedback on substantive policy issues and activities to support the Association’s regional advocacy; and support membership recruitment efforts. The eight GACs cover Africa, the Asia-Pacific, China, Europe, India, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North America.

The Latin America GAC is comprised of 16 experienced INTA members representing the region. In accordance with INTA’s Strategic Plan and to drive results, the GAC created three task forces to focus its activities and to (1) reinforce the value of brands; (2) build a better society through brands; and (3) support the development of IP professionals in the academic, business, and young practitioner communities.

While some IP challenges are universal, each region has specific political and economic situations that influence the evolution or state of IP policies, legislation, and developments. In 2022, for the first time, the GAC generated an executive report on the current status of the political and economic situation affecting IP rights in the region. With many countries still recovering from the pandemic and undergoing presidential elections, we see opportunities to seek more cooperation, stability, and harmonization throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

In addition, the GAC members work closely with INTA staff and members to organize high-level delegation visits to several countries in the region. In the past two years, Association leaders and volunteers held in-person meetings with government officials, senators, and IP offices in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. Delegations have proven to be useful vehicles to strengthen ties with members and stakeholders, as well as to highlight key policy issues and trends for the IP community.

The impact that brands and IP rights have in the economic development and in social welfare is something that may not be generally understood in this region, and this lack of knowledge or limited knowledge can impact how trademarks and other intangible assets are protected. For example, brand restrictions have prevented some trademarks from being used precisely to distinguish the products for which they are registered. In Chile, Ferrero had to discontinue the sale of the “KINDER sorpresa” because the confection contained toys, going against a “Super 8 Law” that does not allow the advertising of products that contain elements aimed at children. Cheetos also had to remove the trademarked CHESTER CHEETAH from its packaging because, according to the health authority, the inclusion of Chester in the packaging is in contravention of said ordinance since it considers the character on the packaging to be advertising, and this national law establishes that “advertising directed at children cannot be made.” INTA hopes that these decisions that restrict brands are taken into consideration and evaluated on empirical data.

INTA delegations also provide important opportunities to meet our more than 2,800 members in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2023, the GAC will continue to work closely with INTA leadership to support further in-person visits, including to Brazil and—hopefully—some English-speaking Caribbean countries during the course of the year. We will also meet and collaborate with INTA regional subcommittees focused on Latin America to provide guidance on goals and support training for authorities, local activities, and campaigns to raise awareness of relevant trends around trademark protection, infringement, and counterfeiting.

To further cross-collaboration opportunities and increase knowledge sharing, we plan to meet with other GACs to streamline a coordinated approach to global IP trends.

We’ll also closely following law harmonization efforts in countries that have recently adhered to World Intellectual Property Organization regulations, such as Belize, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. Law harmonization will ultimately impact local processes in favor of international standardization.

The GAC is continually looking for ways to support the Court of Justice of the Andean Community. This court is able to settle controversies that arise from the application or interpretation of contracts, conventions, or agreements that are subscribed between bodies and institutions of the Andean Integration System or between them and third parties, when the parties so agree. This subregional court seeks to ensure that the Andean law is applied and uniformly interpreted in each of its member countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru). The court acts to safeguard community interests and the rights that member countries have within the Andean legal system.

The Council also supports INTA’s Latin America and the Caribbean Representative Office in the development of a Moot Court Competition, which is conducted in Spanish and open to undergraduate students or recent graduates of law programs at universities across Latin America and other countries. Our members actively participate as jurors and permeate information about this competition in its respective countries.

We expect that 2023 will be an important year of IP changes and challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. We trust that our efforts will help strengthen the INTA community in the region. We aim to welcome more members from across the continent who share our objectives and we hope to help provide a better understanding of the contribution of brands and IP rights throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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