Five things you need to know – Latin America and Caribbean

Argentina

In a landmark deision (Industrias Saladillo SA v Tigre Argentina SA), the Argentina Court of Appeals has referred for the first time to the profits obtained by the defendant while confirming a decision of the first-instance judge, ordering Tigre to cease its infringement of Industrias Saladillo SA’s mark. The court imposed the highest-ever amount of damages in a trademark infringement case, pointing to the utility or profits – called “fruits” by the court – obtained by Tigre. Jorge Otamendi of G Breuer states: “This case is important in that it refers to the defendant’s ‘fruits’ and profits for the first time. In a previous case, the court had stated that trademarks did not produce fruits. However, here the court decided that the profits obtained by the infringer should be ‘restituted’ to the plaintiff.”

Brazil

Brazil has been praised in the latest US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre International IP Index for passing rules that strengthen IP enforcement, address administrative inefficiencies and increase penalties for IP infringement. Key developments included the country’s new criminal enforcement initiative and the creation of an Interministerial Group on Intellectual Property to coordinate the government’s IP policy and conduct public consultations on its policymaking process. However, although Brazil was commended, Peru received the biggest score improvement in Latin America.

Chile

On 3 January 2020 the offices of the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) were targeted by protesters demonstrating against rising living costs and income inequality in the country. They destroyed furniture, windows and electronic equipment on the first two floors, while fires caused irreparable damage to parts of each floor. Following the attack, INAPI immediately suspended all face-to-face services with users, urged customers to use the registry’s online tools instead and extended the deadlines for various administrative procedures. It resumed face-to-face services by setting up a temporary office in its building.

Peru

On 7 January 2020 the Peruvian National Institute for the Defence of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property published a document outlining its approach to strengthening the enforcement of IP rights and sought comments from the community. Among the changes suggested was the creation of a free, accessible database containing information on known infringers, as well as a rewards programme that would allow the authority to receive information regarding the production, commercialisation and distribution of counterfeit goods from the general public.

Venezuela

As of 10 February 2020 trademark applications in Venezuela must use the Nice Classification of Goods and Services only. This development was announced on 7 February, when the director of the Venezuelan IP Office published a series of decisions on the procedure for registering distinctive signs in the country. These include an expedited service for oppositions filed between 16 February 2004 and 17 February 2020, as well as administrative procedures relating to the process for granting collective trademarks and obtaining the cancellation of a trademark due to non-use.

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