The Panamanian Public Ministry recently reported that the Prosecutor´s Office specializing in crimes against intellectual property and computer security processed 578 files in 2015. Of these, 275 cases were related to crimes against industrial property, 236 to copyright and 67 to computer security.
During the presentation of the achievements, District Attorney Ricaurte González noted that every work that is product of the human intellect must not be counterfeited and that the Criminal Procedural Code establishes prison sentences from four to six years for violators.
González explained that most crimes against intellectual property are related to the counterfeiting of trademarks for clothes, bags and shoes, as well as film and music piracy. As an example, he pointed out that in May 2015, 6,129 CDs and DVDs were seized, and 10,359 in July 2015.
Attorney González said that in 2015 the Prosecutor´s Office together with the police have performed 58 registries and 197 expert reports, as well as 225 visual inspections to containers. Additionally, he reported that during 2015, 750 hearings took place, 449 of which were preliminary, 221 ordinary and 192 sentences.
A group of three Panamanian companies, with the support of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama, have created a team to fight organized crime.
In January 2014, the Commission against illicit trade (Comisión Contra el Comercio Ilícito) was founded.The group meets once a month with the main objective to raise the level of awareness of the negative impact that counterfeit products have on the economy.
In addition, representatives of the National Customs Authority, National Police and the Attorney General of Panama, voiced concern about how money originating in illicit trade (such as smuggling, piracy and counterfeiting) is used to sponsor and support offenses linked to organized crime. For example, local authorities reported that during the period between January and May 2015, the counterfeit goods seized by authorities had a value of US $109 million plus.
Other companies and organizations such as AMCHAM PANAMA and Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) have expressed support to the initiative.
Source: http://www.panamcham.comRead More
The Commission of Work and Health of the Assembly of Deputies of the Republic of Panama rejected a bill that would have established new regulations concerning “plain packaging” of cigarettes.
The bill included dispositions related to the content and publicity of the information on products that are derived from tobacco. Articles 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 26 of Law 13 (which came into force on January 24, 2008) would have been modified by this new bill.
Specifically, Article 9 argued that all cigarettes packs marketed in Panama should have a simple packaging. While the tobacco´s producers trademark with the health warnings would remain, new criteria would have needed to be met such as generic packaging. This means a grey dark box (with the same shape, size and design for all cigarette packs) with letters with a specific size for the trademark name (Arial size 20, in bold).
This bill received serious criticism and input, among others, by the Inter American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI). This association considered that: “The bill (…) affects the property rights of a trademark owner. The obligation imposed by the same means the prohibition of use of the mark as it was registered and therefore applies the art. 20 of TRIPS. Furthermore, taking into account the knowledge that the general public has about the consequences of smoking, the imposition is unreasonable. (…), since the aim of informing about the risks of smoking, does not require removal of the brand. (…)”.
For more information about this bill please click here.
It is noteworthy that not only in Panama is dealing with this conflict. For example, Australia was the first country to implement a law that prohibits the advertising and trademarks signs on cigarette packages in 2012. All the tobacco packaging must be olive green with health warnings regarding the effects of smoking tobacco. This initiative was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The purpose of this regulation is that cigarette packages become less attractive for consumers. According to certain press sources in Australia, this change has decreased the smoking habit among the local population.
If you are interested in more details about the Australian Law, please click here.
Source: http://www.asamblea.gob.paRead More
The Judicial Investigation Department of the Police of Panamá (DIJ) and the Unit for Offenses against Intellectual Property Rights of Panamá will join forces to work together to cut down on counterfeiting. Representatives of companies that were affected by these illegal activities had the opportunity recently to share their experiences. New strategies have been implemented in order to attempt to dismantle special networks specializing in different type of crimes related to trafficking of illicit goods.
Recently established measures to stop smuggling and counterfeiting are expected to be more efficient in the fight against this problem than anything already in place.
(IF you mean confiscation of products didn’t work, say that).
Source: http://www.acpi.org.arRead More
Fox International Channels launched in Panama a new campaign against piracy in Latin america, which causes an estimated loss of 2.3 billion dollars per year. This campaign is also against cable operators. There is an estimate of 40% of them that can be considered as “pirate”, from which 50% are located in Central America.
The main objectives of this project, which aims at highlighting the importance of Intellectual Property Rights, are to fight against piracy and to raise awareness about the impact that causes these illegal businesses, which is a crime.
We previously informed that on June 7th, 2012, Panama became the 146th PCT Contracting State and that the PCT will enter into force for that State on September 7th, 2012.
It has been known now that the Industrial Property Law, the Copyright and related Rights Law and the Plant Protection Law will not be approved before October 1, 2012. For this reason it would be advisable to go on filing patent applications in Panama within the 1 year priority term according to Paris Convention at least until October 2, 2012.
For more details, please feel free to contact us.Read More
Within the next few months Panama is expected to take the necessary steps and to deposit the corresponding instrument in order to become party to the treaty.
This action should be the expected consequence of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, which recently has received the U.S. Congressional ratification.
So far, the following Latin American countries are already PCT members: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador
In relation to the yet non-PCT countries, no further developments are expected to occur soon, thus we will keep you informed.
If you want to read more about it, please download our extended articleRead More
On June 7th, 2012, Panama became the 146th PCT Contracting State. The PCT will enter into force for that State on September 7th, 2012.
This means that as from September 7th, 2012 PCT applications may be filed in Panama and that it will be one of the countries in which the National Phase of a PCT application filed after September 7th, 2012 may be entered.
It will be possible to enter National Phases in Panama as from March 8th, 2014.
If you want to read more about it, please download our extended article
In addition to becoming a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Panama has adopted Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, enacted in Budapest on April 28, 1977, and amended on September 26, 1980; as well as the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT), all of which will enter in force on September 7, 2012.
The main goal of the Budapest Treaty is to recognize the deposit of microorganisms with any international depositary authority regardless of the location of the entity in which such deposit is made, which allows doing so outside the territory of the member State. Regarding the TLT, the main purpose is to simplify and harmonize certain aspects related to the procedures of registration and maintenance of trademark registrations.
After the Chamber of Congress accepted the recommendations formulated by the Executive branch, President Ricardo Martinelli signed a Copyright Bill, as part of the previous actions started by this administration in the steps taken towards the Trade Promotion Agreement, between Panama and the United States.
The free trade agreement between both countries took effect on October 31. “Under this comprehensive agreement, Panama will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, which will promote economic growth and expand trade” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.
The new regulation on Copyright states issues related to subjects and objects of copyright; its contents, duration and limits; transmission of rights and exploitation of the work, as well as the main contracts of use of the works, collecting procedures, registration of rights and actions and legal procedures, as well as the technological observance of copyright and related rights.
Panama incorporated on October 5, 2012, some amendments to their IP Law, according to requirements since adoption of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
The following are to be highlighted:
- Third parties may file observations against patentability of a patent application within two months counted as from the following day of the publication of the application, thus the third party will not become a part of the granting procedure.
- The term of non-pharmaceutical patents will be extended if a non-reasonable delay of the PTO in the granting procedure can be proven. The granted maximum supplementary protection will be seven years and six months.
- National Phases of PCT applications will be granted for 20 years counted as from filing date of the international application.
For a deeper analysis of these and other not less important amendments, please click hereRead More