The Colombian Intellectual Property Office Looks Into Its Future

Published: July 21, 2021

The head of the Colombian Intellectual Property Office, a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) official, and INTA members spoke recently with Colombian users of the intellectual property (IP) system about issues addressed in The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Future Report that INTA published last year.

The IPO of the Future Think Tank Report was drafted by current and future heads of IPOs and other key contributors from around the world. The Report provides a thought-provoking and holistic reflection on what an IPO might look like in the future, especially over the next 10 to 20 years. Recognizing the rapid changes in the IP field and the rise in value of intangible assets, it highlights IPO modernization; the growing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of technologies; the deepening intersection between IP, trade, antitrust, and innovation; and the challenges related to public health and food security, among other issues.

Nearly 180 attendees, from IP practitioners and experts to representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), attended the June 29 virtual event.

The program was divided into two sessions. The first was dedicated to the presentation of the Report and its main conclusions. Miguel A. Margáin, former director general of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and one of the think tank members, led the session.

In the second session, María Lamus, the head of the Colombian IPO, and INTA members in Colombia discussed the redefinition of the Office. This includes its modernization to enhance its capacity to respond to the increasing number of applications. But it also includes the need to become an open office to all business owners seeking to register and protect their IP and who need IP information for their business development strategies.

Ms. Lamus, whose title is deputy superintendent for Industrial Property in Colombia, explained how the evolution of the Office in the past decade was aligned with almost all the key issues addressed in the Report. For instance, the Office offers 100 percent electronic procedures, is acceding to international treaties, and is joining several cooperation programs with various IPOs aimed at improving practices and strengthening harmonization. Other examples included the creation of programs and units to support SMEs and under-resourced inventors, such as the Inventors Assistance Program, and Technology Information Service Centers across the country; as well as periodic technology bulletins, and a seven-year-old work-from-home policy.

These measures set the groundwork for the Office to remain open when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the Office continues to invest in new technologies to further enhance examination quality. The system that the Office developed has been shared with the Council of State of Colombia (High Court), which is in charge of deciding invalidation actions.

INTA members Monica Bonnett (Posse Herrera Ruiz, Colombia) and Jorge Chavarro (Cavelier Abogados, Colombia) addressed current issues for IPOs to consider for their future.

“IP is international per se,” Mr. Chavarro said. “Harmonization is the crux of it, but in the case of Colombia, that includes the need for uniformity within the Andean Community Offices, and the adoption of best practices.” He added that IPOs should be proactive and embrace change and globalization.

Ms. Bonnett suggested several valuable ideas on how to use new technologies to create IP protection and management ecosystems that would reduce transactional costs while setting more balanced official fees.

Oswaldo Gironés, senior program officer at the WIPO Economic Development Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, summarized the dialogue.

INTA’s Latin America and the Caribbean Representative Office, based in Santiago, Chile, represents the Association’s members across the region. Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the Latin America and the Caribbean Representative Office leads the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives throughout this region. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, please contact INTA Chief Representative Officer of the Latin America and the Caribbean Office José Luis Londoño.

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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