Court confirms protection of IP rights despite deficient legal framework
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A Venezuelan court has granted Babyliss, the well-known French manufacturer of hair care appliances, the possibility to take precautionary measures against a business located in Punto Fijo, one of Venezuela’s free-trade zones, which is famous for its activities in the field of electronic goods and household appliances. The decision resulted in the seizure of 588 counterfeit hair straighteners.
According to the court’s decision, once identified by an expert, the counterfeit goods were confiscated and ordered to be destroyed after the infringer had agreed to stop marketing any products violating Babyliss’ IP rights.
Due to the ineffective protection provided by the reinstated 1955 IP legislation (for further details please see "Supreme Court repeals Andean legislation on industrial property"), it is highly important that the courts continue to allow trademark and patent holders to take precautionary measures against direct IP infringements. In addition, Venezuelan law enforcement organisations must acknowledge the validity of international treaties, such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, in order to protect the IP community, which would otherwise be defenceless.
What is remarkable in the court's decision is the fact that it was based specifically on provisions of the 1993 Copyright Law which regulate precautionary measures favouring IP rights holders. These provisions follow guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in order to make up for the deficiencies in the enforcement of trademark rights. These decisions were issued based on the analogy and close relationship between copyright and trademark rights, taking into consideration the legal void resulting from the inapplicability in Venezuela of Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Industrial Property Regime and the lack of willingness of the National Assembly to pass a new IP law.
However, in light of the court's decision in the case at hand, it seems that the future of the enforcement of IP rights in Venezuela is becoming brighter.
Ricardo Alberto Antequera H, Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez, Caracas
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