Venezuela

The challenges continue in Venezuela, where brand owners and their representatives often struggle to see what is coming round the corner. Sudden and dramatic increases in official fees (up in some cases by 2000% for foreign applicants) significantly slowed IP business in 2015 and high costs continue to deter would-be applicants. Enforcement is also notoriously tricky – one lawyer describes litigation as a “nightmare” for rights holders. Those that do need results should select external counsel with a reputation for creativity and strategic problem solving. It also helps to have someone on the ground; notably, some Venezuelan practitioners are now handling their work out of other jurisdictions, due to the difficulties of life in their home nation.

Firms

1
Baker McKenzie SC
Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
2
Bentata Abogados
De Sola Pate & Brown
Rojas Gaona & Bandres
3
Ayala & Lopez Abogados
ECV & Asociados
Markven Propiedad Intelectual SC
Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
TEHAR sc
Ayala & Lopez Abogados
“We were frustrated in Venezuela until we found Ayala & Lopez,” enthuses one gold-rated foreign associate. “It offers the best service in the country – better than any of the higher-profile players on the market.” The firm has achieved enduring appeal among correspondent lawyers and brand owners thanks to its razor-sharp advice; the quality of its offering is in large part thanks to the fastidiousness of main man Adolfo Lopez.
Baker McKenzie SC
Baker McKenzie’s Caracas crew may have lost out on dynamo Grelis Marcano – although, happily for the brand owners accustomed to her outstanding work product, she remains within the firm network as a member of the Santiago team – but it recruited Laura Rada for a net gain in experience. Rada is a former legal director of the patent and trademark office, SAPI, and enjoys an excellent rapport with everyone at the registry – an invaluable advantage in such a turbulent market. She is also widely hailed as one of the country’s most deeply knowledgeable trademark experts. She forms an unbeatable team with Dianne Regina Phoebus, another IP doyenne and a miracle worker at crafting and executing strategic solutions. International brand owners rest easy knowing that the firm is really looking out for its interests in Venezuela, as well as in the wider region; with teams in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, it has a mature Latin American practice which distinguishes it from other international heavyweights plying their trade in the region.
Bentata Abogados
Bentata is recommended for its “quality trademark services and speedy communication”. The full-service set-up has decades of experience under its belt and is ideally placed to navigate clients through the myriad protection and enforcement challenges that they face in the jurisdiction. The sparkling language skills and international educational backgrounds of its top practitioners chime well with multinational brand owners and foreign correspondents alike. Karel Bentata manages the organisation with a sure hand, while Dana Bentata wears the captain’s armband for the IP group. No firm has notched up more brand protection and enforcement experience than Bolet & Terrero, an IP-focused outfit which has been in business for more than 100 years. The venerable institution enjoys long-term relationships with many prominent global clients, which see it not just as a consultant, but as their ally and shield in Venezuela. Its professionals undertake extensive extracurricular activities in various IP associations; they know a lot about international best practices, which they have imported into the local market to superb effect. Managing partner Manuel Polanco runs a tight ship and is continually upgrading the firm’s processes, resources and structures to satisfy the evolving demands of customers.
De Sola Pate & Brown
Responsiveness is the watchword at De Sola Pate & Brown, a general practice which takes meticulous care over the preservation and defence of its clients’ crown-jewel assets. Acting across multiple industry sectors, the seasoned team communicates fluently with multinationals, providing crystal-clear guidance so that they know where they stand in this difficult market. There is plenty of talent to choose from: veterans Irene De Sola and US lawyer Richard Brown bring comfort with their years of experience and finely honed IP instincts. Junior partner José Gutierrez is a versatile operator with buckets of prosecution, transactional and litigation know-how.
ECV & Asociados
Enrique Cheang Vera’s eponymous ECV & Asociados has won plenty of admirers across Latin America and is a popular port of call for foreign associate referrals. Put simply, “it gets the job done” and is recommended for the “quality and reliability” of its work, “combined with fast turnaround times and reasonable fees”. It provides total assistance on trademark protection and enforcement, giving patrons a personalised answer to every question.
Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
“Best in class in Venezuela”, Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez is “a guiding light in a very complicated country”. The boutique has recently updated its management systems to provide a streamlined offering and impresses with its long-term strategic thinking. It runs the most effective anti-counterfeiting division in the jurisdiction and excels at tracking down infringing products destined for the Venezuelan market. In a recent action for Crocs, Nike, Chanel and Gucci, it followed the path of a shipment of fakes which was swapped between vessels and inspected in other jurisdictions before landing in Punto Fijo; it then coordinated the seizure of over 43,000 units. The anti-counterfeiting strategies it has devised for adidas and Abbott Laboratories, among many others, have also proven extremely fruitful. Another USP is the depth of its team: four members are listed in the WTR 1000 and clients are never left reliant on just one person. Ricardo Alberto Antequera provides strong leadership to the trademark, advertising and entertainment law practices; while Ricardo Enrique Antequera takes charge of the patent and life sciences section. Manuel Antonio Rodríguez is the set’s anti-counterfeiting guru and María Alejandra Castillo handles all things prosecution. Each acts as a sounding board for the others, with holistic advice the result. Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque has retained a laser focus on intellectual property since its inception over 70 years ago, though it performs dexterously in other commercial practice areas too. In María Milagros Nebreda it has one of the country’s most sophisticated and experienced portfolio managers and counsellors. Other members of the team bring extensive alternative dispute resolution know-how to the table, giving it an edge in a market in which taking matters to court is often a bad idea.
Markven Propiedad Intelectual SC
Young, up-and-coming firm Markven makes its debut in the WTR 1000 listings for 2017. It has all the ingredients that international brand owners are looking for – a dynamic, proactive well-educated team; a personalised approach; specialist expertise – and has been attracting new clients left, right and centre as a result. The team’s creative solutions did wonders for Longchamp in a recent complex anti-counterfeiting suit, and for Café Roll and Roll Smart in a tricky registration matter that required brand name and design changes. Founding partner Barbarita Guzmán is “much respected in the academic world” and is a “seriously committed” professional. Her knowledge of branding is broad in scope, encompassing adjacent issues such as social media.
Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
“Reliable, fast and reasonably priced”, Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon is a partner of choice for many top Latin American IP lawyers. Intellectual property is a central pillar of its offering, although it also proficiently handles corporate, competition and aviation matters; it demonstrates a deft touch on the registration of trademarks and has a soothing bedside manner when assisting clients with intractable infringement troubles. Luis Alejandro Henriquez earns plaudits from Peruvian and Uruguayan peers, and is a solutions-oriented practitioner with all trademark processes down pat.
Rojas Gaona & Bandres
IP and corporate player Rojas Gaona & Bandres may have recently lost out on the expertise of Laura Rada, now at Baker McKenzie, but it is still a smart option for rights holders. Luis Arévalo is the spark plug who keeps the set on the frontline of IP protection and enforcement. “He is a former SAPI manager and has excellent relationships in the public administration. He is a very even-keeled lawyer who knows the ins and outs of administrative and trademark law.” Also recommended is of counsel Jose Ramon Fermin, an anti-counterfeiting maven with a real affinity for the human aspect of his work.
TEHAR sc
Leading commercial firm Travieso Evans Arria Rengel established TEHAR as an affiliate dedicated exclusively to the practice of IP law. This set-up allows clients to benefit from both the specialisation and lower rates of a boutique and the extensive resources of a general practice. In the driving seat is Rosa Mejuto – “the perfect choice to send a prosecution or opposition matter to if you are looking for a deeply knowledgeable and committed lawyer”. She has outstanding linguistic skills and is widely acknowledged as the leading translator on the market. Highly engaged in local and international trademark practice, she sits on the board of directors of the Association of Venezuelan Industrial Property Agents (COVAPI) and is an active participant in various international IP organisations.

Individuals

Ricardo Alberto Antequera H - Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
Luis G Arévalo - Rojas Gaona & Bandres
Dianne Regina Phoebus - Baker McKenzie SC
Laura Rada - Baker McKenzie SC
Ricardo Enrique Antequera - Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
Dana Bentata - Bentata Abogados
Karel Bentata - Bentata Abogados
Richard Brown - De Sola Pate & Brown
María Alejandra Castillo - Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
Enrique Cheang Vera - ECV & Asociados
Irene De Sola - De Sola Pate & Brown
Jose Ramon Fermin - Rojas Gaona & Bandres
Sebastián González Yanes - Citemark International IP
Castor Gonzalez-Escobar - GR LEX Americas
José Gutierrez - De Sola Pate & Brown
Barbarita Guzmán - Markven Propiedad Intelectual SC
Luis Alejandro Henriquez - Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
Adolfo Lopez - Ayala & Lopez Abogados
Rosa Mejuto - TEHAR sc
María Milagros Nebreda - Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
Jacqueline Moreau Aymard - Moreau González & Asociados
Manuel Polanco - Bolet & Terrero
Manuel Antonio Rodríguez - Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
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Issue 70