Venezuela’s political, economic and humanitarian crisis hit the country hard in 2019: power cuts and blackouts became mainstream; hyperinflation ensued; millions fled; and protests proliferated, resulting in violent clashes between pro and anti-government forces. Institutional failure continued to spread across government bodies, with the Autonomous Service of Intellectual Property being no exception. At the time of writing, IP practitioners spoke of a barely functioning office, where fees had to be paid in Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency – forbidden under US sanctions – or in cash, through an unorthodox method at Banco del Tesoro. In such a challenging environment, any business expansion in the region is out of the question and several firms have had to establish back-up offices abroad to maintain communications with foreign clients, retaining smaller ground operations for matters that require a physical presence. On the bright side, these issues have brought the IP community closer together than ever before and practitioners have put up an organised front to overcome the many challenges that they face.
- Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Baker McKenzie SC
- Bolet & Terrero
- ECV & Asociados
- Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
- Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
In a tier of its own, “diligent, responsive and responsible” Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez remains Venezuela’s top choice for intellectual property and adjoining entertainment, marketing and data privacy practices. Acting as a leading source of intelligence for both domestic and international clients, the firm keeps brand owners at ease despite the country’s incredibly challenging, ever-changing environment. This remarkable success is partially due to Ricardo Alberto Antequera’s superb management abilities and his clear prioritisation of the side’s individuals – an attribute to which the recent partnership promotions of Dinora Garcia and Mariana Montiel pay testament. Another key development at the practice has been the rise in anti-counterfeiting work provided by fashion giants Gucci, Ralph Laurent and Nike – overseen by Manuel Antonio Rodríguez and Ricardo Enrique Antequera: “They do their absolute best to defend the rights of trademark owners in the dramatic Venezuelan landscape.” At the South Florida representation office, which has been in operation since 2017, Barbarita Guzmán develops franchising strategies and trademark licensing agreements for esteemed international brands.
General practice outfit Baker McKenzie is a brilliant choice for one-stop shoppers in Venezuela; the firm understands the local political and economic situation well, having operated in the country for more than six decades. The IP squad – “a small but solid team” – maintains excellent connections with entities all over the world, receiving complex IP work from patrons throughout Latin America and beyond. Spearheading the regional IP and pharmaceuticals groups, all-rounder Dianne Regina Phoebus is a shrewd tactician who helps rights holders with all aspects of their brand strategies.
Bolet & Terrero
Throughout its centenary existence, Bolet & Terrero has been a consistent source of excellence among the Venezuelan IP community. A boutique ensemble fully dedicated to intellectual property, the firm stays up to speed with global IP developments and has established pioneering practices – including the new technologies and start-ups group – to best address innovators’ changing needs. Head of the international side Maria Elena Terrero is a driving force behind this innovative approach, having landed some impressive Fortune 500 clients as a result of her tech savviness. Managing partner Manuel Polanco has also greatly contributed to pushing the boundaries of IP practice at Bolet & Terrero, adopting state-of-the-art information systems that give the set a competitive edge.
ECV & Asociados
“One of the best firms in the country, ECV & Asociados offers top service, excellent knowledge of the law, great attention to detail and reasonable prices” – four enviable features much in demand in modern-day Venezuela. As a result, it continues to grow organically even in the current climate, offering top-notch trademark filing and accurate prosecution strategies to an ever-increasing clientele. “Pragmatic, responsive and extremely knowledgeable,” Enrique Cheang Vera is the brains behind the operation. “Not only a demonstrated leader and expert in everything related to trademark and patent registration, Enrique seems to live in his phone, for he responds almost immediately (circumstances permitting).”
Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
Entrusted by Nokia, PepsiCo and CBS Broadcasting for its high-end IP work, Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque is a renowned boutique with strong practices on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. Setting up shop in 1942, the firm has since played a fundamental role in the development of intellectual property in Venezuela and is now positioning itself to do the same in the Caribbean, investing significantly in a new Aruba office. Back in Caracas, IP portfolio management is faring well in the hands of partner Joaquín Núñez-Landáes and junior partner Karen Incera, who each handle a number of the most prominent clients.
Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
With only 13 years in the market, corporate and IP boutique MHOV Abogados may be a newcomer by Venezuelan standards, but its success has already been firmly established. “MHOV is doing well and growing steadily, demonstrating vast experience in trademark and copyrights actions,” states one observer. Offering top IP counselling enriched with intelligent business insights, the 14-strong outfit has been impressing local and foreign counsel alike, shining particularly bright when Annette Angulo Celis – “one of the best IP lawyers in the country” – takes charge.
Other recommended experts“Simply excellent” Heissy Diaz, from IP boutique eMagine, is “a real asset for matters in Venezuela” and “highly trusted to quarterback trademark work across the region”. GR LEX Americas’ Castor Gonzalez-Escobar offers “top-notch regional advice and has a superb team behind him”, standing out for his anti-counterfeiting efforts across the sub-continent. After Ayala & Lopez’s split in 2018, Adolfo Lopez now heads the newly formed Lopez Sanchez IP boutique, leading by example with his full grasp of all IP-related fields. Partner Rosa María Mejuto takes the reins of TEHAR’s trademark practice, performing solid, high-quality and reliable prosecution work that never disappoints.
- Ricardo Enrique Antequera - Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Ricardo Alberto Antequera H - Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Enrique Cheang Vera - ECV & Asociados
- Dianne Regina Phoebus - Baker McKenzie SC
- Manuel Polanco F - Bolet & Terrero
- Annette Angulo Celis - Marquez Henriquez Ortin & Valedon
- Heissy Diaz - eMagine
- Dinora Garcia - Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Castor Gonzalez-Escobar - GR LEX Americas
- Barbarita Guzmán - Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Karen Incera - Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
- Adolfo Lopez - Lopez Sanchez
- Rosa María Mejuto - TEHAR sc
- Joaquín Núñez-Landáes - Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque
- Manuel Antonio Rodríguez - Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez
- Maria Elena Terrero - Bolet & Terrero