Beer, Trademarks and Free Competition
The Chilean Beer market has been investigated during the last year by antitrust institutions and consequently, the United Breweries Company (CCU for its Spanish acronym) was accused in front of the Tribunal for the Defense of Free Competition (TDLC) of registering several foreign trademarks with the aim of disrupting the entry and development of competitors.
Moreover, the CCU has also registered designations of origin of generic beer varieties and geographic indications. However, no products associated to these registrations have been commercialized, thus suggesting the same above-mentioned objective.
The CCU owns 80% of the Chilean beer market and it is thought that the decision of registering under their name trademarks such as Águila (Colombia), Andes (Argentina), Antartic (Brazil), Keller (Spain), Pacífico y Victoria (Mexico) and Taquiña (Bolivia), among others, aims at keeping its dominant position in the national beer market.
This presumption is based on the fact that the CCU has lodged a series of actions aimed at avoiding the commercialization of the products holding the aforementioned trademarks, which CCU then knew to be owned by third parties before registering them under its name in Chile.
Recently, the involved parties have signed an agreement already approved by the TDLC according to which, CCU transfers to their legitimate owners the trademarks registered by them and renounces to the designations of origin geographic indications, thus giving way to the entry of other parties to the national market.