In December 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report, which shows IP statistics worldwide. Patent filings around the world reached 3.17 million, representing a 5.8% growth on 2016 figures, trademark filings totalled 12.39 million, up 26.8% on 2016, and industrial design filing activity exceeded 1.24 million. China recorded the highest application volume for each of these IP rights.
Regarding patent filings in the Latin American and the Caribbean region, WIPO´s study report a slight decrease (-0.1%) on the average annual growth from 2007 to 2017, with 57,600 patents filed in 2017.
On the other hand, trademark filings in the region showed a 3.3% increase on the average annual growth over the same period, reaching 715,900 applications in 2017. This average percentage annual growth was similar to that for North America (3.9%) and higher to the one in Europe (0.2%).
Industrial design filings during the 2007-2017 period in the Latin American and the Caribbean region also shows a slight average annual increase (0.6%), with 15,500 filings in 2017.
Below are IP data for the period 2007-2018 according to the statistics published by the corresponding PTOs of the top five largest Latin American economies: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
From 2007 to 2018, patent filings in Brazil have increased 15% overall. However, the number of applications has fallen for five consecutive years, with the decline in non-resident applications being the main driver for the decrease. From 2017 to 2018, there was a slight reduction from 28,667 to 27,551 (-3.9%) in patent filings, although there was a large increase (77.5%) in patent grants, rising from 6,250 in 2017 to 11,090 in 2018. Additionally, in 2018 the patent backlog was reduced by 7.4% with respect to 2017.
In 2018, applications from the U.S accounted for 30% of the total patent filings, followed by Brazil (20%), Germany (8%) and Japan (7%).
Mexico has experienced a slight overall decrease (1%) in patent filings from 2007 to 2018, with 16,424 applications filed in 2018. Regarding patent grants, 8,921 applications were granted in 2018, 5% more than in 2017.
Applicants from the U.S. accounted for 44% of the total applications in 2018, followed by Mexico, Germany and Japan (7% each).
Patent filings in Argentina have also experienced a decrease over the last years, with 3,443 applications filed in 2017. Interestingly, during the 2016-2017 period, there was a 56% decrease in resident applications, whereas non-resident applications slightly increased (4%). Regarding patent grants, these have almost doubled in the period 2008-2017, with 2,302 patents granted in 2017. No data are yet available for 2018.
Except for a marked decrease during 2009 and 2010, patent filings in Chile have been rather steady, with a slight 7% increase from 2017 (2,892) to 2018 (3,100).
30% of the applications in 2018 were from U.S. applicants, 13% from Chile, 9% from Switzerland and 8% from Germany.
Colombia also recorded a 7% increase in patent applications from 2017 (2,049) to 2018 (2,372), and a remarkable 16% growth for the period 2007-2017. In 2017, 32% of the filings were from U.S. applicants and 25% from Colombian applicants, followed by Switzerland, Germany and France in number of applications. No data are yet available for 2018.
Regarding trademark applications, both Brazil and Mexico have seen an overwhelming growth during 2007-2018: applications in Brazil have increased 96% since 2007, reaching 204,419 applications in 2018, whereas in Mexico this increase went up to 103%, with 156,156 applications filed last year.
Resident filing activity has driven this growth in Brazil, with an average of 82% in resident filings during the period 2007-2018. The second country in number of trademark applications in Brazil is the U.S., whose share in 2018 was 4%. Resident filings in Mexico represented an average of 68% during the period 2007-2018. The second country in number of trademark applications in Mexico is also the U.S., with 17,449 applications (11%) filed in 2018, followed by Germany (3%).
There has been a significant increase in trademark registrations in Brazil during the last year, from 123,362 in 2017 to 191,813 in 2018 (55.5%). More importantly, the backlog was reduced from 358,776 by the end of 2017 to 191,535 by the end of 2018, which represents a decrease of 46.6%.
Trademark registrations have increased 150% in Mexico during the period 2007-2018, rising from 49,746 registrations in 2017 to 124,023 in 2018.
With an overall 4% increase in trademark applications in Argentina from 2007 to 2017 and 74,722 filings in 2017, resident applications represented an average percentage of 76% during the period 2007-2017.
Except for a drop in 2009, trademark filings in Chile have been rather stable, with an overall increase of 18% during the period 2007-20018 and 47,407 filings last year. Resident applications in Chile represented an average of 69% during the period 2007-2018.
Colombia has experienced a significant overall increase (73%) in the number of trademark applications during 2007-2017, with 42,725 filings in 2017. Resident applications in Colombia showed an average of 57% during the period 2007-2017. There has also been a substantial increase (71%) in trademark registrations in Colombia during 2007-2017.
Sources: http://www.wipo.intRead More
An advice piece by Laura Moreno Sosa
I have recently been talking to a friend, founding partner of a successful global startup, about the level of importance his company gives to Intellectual Property (IP) protection. It came as no surprise to find out that they really do not pay much attention to it since they are more focused on establishing a lucrative company in order to sell it, make a profit, and move onto the next project.
The low priority to safeguard IP early on, which I suspect is common to most startups, is very menacing to the valuation of the company.
Next, I would like to offer what I consider to be the most important aspects of IP that should be considered as early as possible in a developing business.
1. Identify your intellectual assets
It is very important to understand the different types of existing IP protection for the different types of intellectual creations within a company. In order to secure a startup’s IP it is very important to get proper counsel that can help recognize the value IP can bring to the company.
The proper timing to move forward with a comprehensive protection of the startup’s intangibles is yesterday. Seriously!
Investments on branding, signage, product packaging, etc., can be completely lost if they are made without first securing rights to a name, trademark, trade dress.
It is important to avoid the release of a new product without protection, which can result in publication and movement to the public domain of an innovation (Enabling Public Disclosure). This causes immediate devaluation of the startup worth as a consequence of not protecting the intellectual creation in due time.
Startups should consider every country in which the company has operations in order to protect the IP within every relevant region. Intellectual Property rights are granted per country and/or per region.
4. Formalization of business relations
It is very important to formalize each and every relation involved in the development of the products of the company. This is the only way to ensure the protection of the intellectual creations, guarantee confidentiality and shield trade secrets.
Depending on the industry, there are several kinds of protection that may be appropriate. It is of the utmost importance to draw out an intellectual property strategy as soon as entrepreneurs begin building the venture.
In January 2012, the European Union and 22 of its member states signed The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), except Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus. In February 2012, some signatory countries, like Poland and Bulgaria, as well as non-signatory ones, announced the stop of the ratification process, mainly because of numerous protests that were held against ACTA.
ACTA cannot enter into force on the European Union without the ratification by all member states, and the approval of the European Parliament. On March 2012, the European Commission asked the European Court of Justice to assess whether the ACTA agreement violates the European Union’s fundamental human rights and freedoms, like freedom of expression and information, protection of personal data and intellectual property. This decision was adopted taking into account the pressure of the public opinion against this treaty. In case that the Parliament does not ratify the agreement, there would exist the possibility that some countries ratify this by themselves, but it would not have effects in the hall European Union.
The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international treatment “that aims to raise global standards of enforcement of intellectual property rights”, and in that way helping “countries work together to tackle large-scale Intellectual Property Rights violations”, in particular, the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy.
This agreement is compared with The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and The Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA) from the United States, with the difference that ACTA is a multinational treaty.
ACTA was first developed by Japan and the United States in 2006. Official negotiations began in June 2008. The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States and, as previously mentioned, in January 2012 it was signed by the European Union and 22 of its member states. Mexico and Switzerland attended negotiations but did not sign (the Senate of Mexico voted unanimously to withdraw from ACTA negotiations on September 2010).
No signatory country has ratified the agreement yet, which would come into force after ratification by 6 countries. “This Agreement shall remain open for signature by participants in its negotiation, and by any other WTO Members the participants may agree to by consensus, from 1 May 2011 until May 2013”.
The application or not of ACTA, will have effects all around the world, apart from being or not a signatory country. If this treaty is ratify by the majority of signatory member states, it will be an important antecedent in order to enforce Intellectual property politics in other countries, specially related with the international cooperation in this subject.-
In spite of the intention of the different signatory countries to achieve the approval of all of them, it is important to note that protests against ACTA are growing day by day and those make really difficult to enter ACTA into force.
- European Commission: “Statement by Commissioner Karel De Gucht on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)”
- European Commission: “ACTA – Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement”
- European Parliament
- Senate of Mexico
- Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
- ACTA Article 40
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has recently approved the launching of new generic top-level domains -gTLDs- (which currently includes such domains as .com, .net, .gov, .biz, etc.).
This change may have a big impact on the Internet’s Domain Name System, representing an increase of defensive domain registrations and a different manner of finding information and communicating on the web.
Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language.
The first launching is planned for the entertainment industry under gTLD .xxx, opened not only to trademark and domain registration’s holders who belong to this sectors, but also to those who are outside and want to block their trademarks .xxx.
Until the middle of 2013, other gTLD approved by ICANN are going to be launched, namely .viaje, .hotel, .movie, .shop, etc., for those who are interested in associating their activity with a specific gTLD and be known to public in such way.
Finally, between January 12 and April 12, 2012, organizations would also have the possibility to market their brands, products, community or cause through their own gTLD (e.g. .coca-cola, .buenosaires, .volkswagen, etc.).
In this sense, companies, which are known today with the current gTLD .com, followed by the country code top level domain (CCTLD) in those countries in which they do business -e.g. .ar for Argentina, .es for Spain, .de for Germany, etc.-), have to determine if owning a gTLD would be of their value, and if so, analyze how to manage their registrations in a coherent manner.
This last implementation may have advantages, taking into account that same could be a way to discourage counterfeiting and monitor matters that could infringe trademark rights, in the sense that registration of TMs as gTLDs can guarantee consumers that products which are on sale through a site including a trademark gTLD are original.
There are many unsettled queries regarding this matter, especially taking into account the question of how the request and registration for non-branded names or descriptive names that sometimes recognizes TM rights on behalf of third parties could be solved.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced last April the creation of an online web platform in order to contribute to the fight against piracy, which is named World Anti-Piracy Observatory (WAPO).
This web platform provides all kinds of useful, comprehensive and updated information concerning anti-piracy polices and measures taken by the UNESCO member states.
That means that the main objective of this site is to provide data and information about measures, policies and administrative mechanisms used by the state members in the fight against piracy, a current worldwide problem, which increases every year.
The information contained in WAPO is a useful and beneficial resource for national authorities, since same will have access to the different solutions taken by other state members in order to improve its own measures and piracy policies.
It is also a useful instrument for authors, creators, and other property right holders, who can get information from this web platform, and consequently know more about their rights, and enforce same.
The creation of this platform was recommended during the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee in 2005; and has finally entered into force.
Everyone has free access to WAPO and it is available in three languages: English, Spanish and French.Read More
Early October 2010, the countries leading the still ongoing negotiation on a new multilateral Treaty (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA) that targets the rising problem of international trade of counterfeited products and piracy, informed that they had agreed on the final text of the draft during a meeting in Tokyo.
It is worth mentioning that the main countries promoting this Treaty are the United States, the European Union and Japan; which have had the support of Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Morocco.
So far the only Latin American country participating in the negotiations and supporting the entrance in force of such Treaty has been Mexico.
Most others Latin American countries, particularly Argentina and Brazil, have expressed concerns and negative opinions about many proposed sections of this eventually multilateral Treaty. Other countries like China, India and South Africa share these concerns.
Most of the criticisms on the Draft are related to enforcement provisions that would limit privacy rights on Internet as well as others that would allow the inspection of certain pasangersÂ´belongins at local Customs and the seizure of allegedly infringing products in transit (even generic medicines in transit).
Given that counterfeiting is a major problem worldwide, which has been growing in Latin America, this proposed Treaty will most likely continue rising discussions among the private sector, academia and officials of different countries and international organizations such as WTO, WIPO, WHO and others.Read More