Monday, 8 December 2014

Uruguay joins El Salvador, commits to Marrakesh

According to Marrakesh Notification No. 4: Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, on 1 December 2014, deposited its instrument of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty -- but it won't come into force till it reaches the required number of ratifications or accessions in accordance with Article 18 of that Treaty, ie three months after 20 eligible parties have signed up for it.

At present the number stands at four (you can check here to see whether more have signed up since) but at least this is positive news for Latin America. Of the four, two countries -- a full 50% -- are from Latin America, the other being El Salvador (the other countries being India and the United Arab Emirates).

Friday, 5 December 2014

Los derechos de autor y de marca detrás del ‘Chavo del 8’

Roberto Gómez Bolaños, creador de los famosos personajes como ‘El Chavo del 8’ y ‘El Chapulín Colorado”, falleció el pasado 28 de noviembre a los 85 años. La fama del comediante mexicano y de sus personajes traspasó fronteras, convirtiéndose en todo un ícono en América Latina y ostentando una importante fama a nivel mundial.

Además de los numerosos recuerdos que deja en varias generaciones, también deja peleas por la autoría sobre sus personajes y, evidentemente, sobre los ingresos que ellos generan.

La serie de ‘El Chavo del 8’ se convirtió en un producto exitoso, con más de 30 años transmisión y de retransmisión, que facilitó la construcción de una marca, lo cual representó un proceso contrario a lo normal, que es construir previamente la marca y luego lanzar el producto. Por ello puede decirse que la marca nació ‘sin querer queriendo’.

Actualmente Televisa comercializa la marca El Chavo. Bimbo, McDonald’s, Barcel y Kellog’s son algunas de las empresas que han adquirido los derechos de la marca.

Respecto a los derechos de autor, la propiedad sobre la serie y los personajes han significado y seguirán significando una enorme entrada de dinero para sus herederos y Televisa. Según Forbes desde 1992, cuando El Chavo del 8 dejó de emitirse, Televisa ha obtenido un estimado de 1.700 billones de dólares por derechos de autor ya que el canal es dueño de los derechos audiovisuales sobre la serie y sus producciones hermanas.

Pero no todo lo que reluce es oro alrededor de las series y personajes creados por Gómez Bolaños, sonoras han sido las peleas legales que mantuvo por los derechos sobre ‘La Chilindrina’ y ‘Quico’.

Más información aquí, aquí, aquí  y con nuestros amigos de @marcasur

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Registration of IP licences: good news from Argentina

Argentina's National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has established a new registry for patent, trade marks, utility model, industrial model and design licences, as well as for technology transfer agreements. The registry will be administered by INPI's Technology Transfer Department.

Under Resolution 117/2014 of 9 June 2014, registration of licence agreements is voluntary. However, registered licence agreement will be enforceable against third parties since the latter will be deemed to have notice of them.

The new registration facility is available for both domestic licence agreements and those between Argentine licensors and foreign licensees. Although it is not explicitly so provided in the Resolution, the authorities have indicated their understanding that it will also apply to licence agreements executed between foreign residents.

Source: "INPI Creates a New Registry of Licenses", contributed to the INTA Bulletin by Juan M. López Mañán (Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, Buenos Aires)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Scientology Church, ‘Prosperity’ and the Washington Convention: what do they have in common?

For one reason or another, our society has become aware of the Scientology Church, which was founded in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard, a writer of science fiction at the time. Some of us, in the legal arena, are perhaps more prompted to hear about the Scientology church. In the area of intellectual property we hear cases on copyright and trade secrets for example. The case that I read over the weekend in the newspaper La Republica caught my attention, since this time was about trade marks.

The party in question is the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) which describes itself as ‘Uniting all organizations and professionals using L. Ron Hubbard’s management technology.’ Back in October 2013 WISE opposed to the registration of the mark ‘Prosperity’, requested by Jafer Limited (here) in class 16 (magazines and publications, promoting fashion, beauty and personal care, as well as selling cosmetics, makeup, perfume, among others). The arguments brought by WISE in both instances of the Colombian Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) were as follows:
• Lack of distinctiveness, and
• the existence of the registered mark ‘Prosperity’ belonging to Wise.

This latter argument was examined by SIC. According to WISE, the sign requested “fall within the grounds of non-registrability” as established in Article 7 of the General Inter-American Convention for Trademark and Commercial Protection (Washington Convention). Colombia is a member of such agreement (in force since 1936) as well as many other Latin American countries and the United States. The convention is hosted by the Organization of American States.

Legal prosperity
Mr Camilo Suarez, IP lawyer and an associate at prietocarrizosa firm explained that "trademark oppositions based on different rules to the Decision 486 are not as common”. He continues to explain that opposition based in other legislative provisions “are reserved for cases like this where very particular characteristics of internationality are imposed and they are exceptions to the principle of territoriality in trademark law.” In the same line, it is clarified that not only Decision 486 (CAN Common Intellectual Property Regime) is applied to protect brands, but also other legal instruments such as the Paris Agreement and the Washington Convention.

Art 7 of the Washington Convention however requires that apart from demonstrating that the signs are similar, it must also prove that the applicant “had knowledge of the existence and continuous use in any of the Contracting States of the mark on which opposition is based upon goods of the same class”. WISE is the owner of the ‘Priority’ mark in the United States in class 16 of the Nice Classification.

Jafer Ltd appealed to the decision arguing that the mark was cancelled for non-use in Class 16 of the Nice International in Colombia in 2013 ( Resolution 78474-2011). It also argued that there was no evidence that it had prior knowledge of the existence of that sign. The superintendent disagreed and the first instance decision was upheld and thus, granting “extra- territorial protection to the foreign trademark."

Friday, 14 November 2014

Peru snubs TM coexistence agreement, rejects NP300 registration

Nissan Navara NP300
By Resolution No 2005-2014/TPI, INDECOPI -- which serves as an appellate administrative body -- rejected a coexistence agreement filed by Nissan Motor Co in connection with its application to register the alphanumeric mark NP300 for "motor vehicles and parts thereof" in Class 12.  General Motors owned an earlier registered trade mark, N300, for "vehicles and parts thereof" in the same class, but had not opposed Nissan's application.

Chevrolet Move N300
The Peruvian Trade Mark Office considered the two marks to be confusingly similar and rejected Nissan's application. Nissan then appealed to INDECOPI, arguing that several trade marks containing the number 300 already coexisted in Class 12 (these being L300, R-300, T-300 and CROSSMAX CR 300). What's more, Nissan filed a coexistence agreement it had made with General Motors, under which the two car-makers pledged to take all necessary measures to avoid any likelihood of confusion among consumers when using the trade marks N300 and NP300.

INDECOPI dismissed the appeal, referring to the Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Industrial Property Regime, which requires trade mark law to protect the interests of consumers. Accordingly, even though the parties had entered into an agreement, consumers might be confused when seeing both trade marks since NP300 and N300 both looked and sounded pretty similar. Further, even though both parties said they would take all necessary measures to avoid any likelihood of confusion, they gave no clue as to what specific actions they had in mind.

Source: "Court rejects coexistence agreement between Nissan and GM" by Adriana Barrera (BARLAW - Barrera & Asociados, Lima, Peru), posted on World Trademark Review, 29 October 2014