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INTA Latin America Event: Challenges of IP Protection for SMEs, Nonprofits

15-Oct-2020 | Source : International Trademark Association (INTA) | Visits : 1853
NEW YORK - Two events hosted by INTA’s Latin America and the Caribbean Office highlighted programs in the region offering pro bono work, and the challenges for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and nonprofit organizations in protecting intellectual property (IP), according to the official website of the International Trademark Association (INTA). 

In a partnership, INTA and Fundación Pro Bono Chile are hosting Instagram Live sessions where INTA members who are volunteers at Fundación Pro Bono Chile discuss topics related to IP. The sessions also provide a stage for both organizations to highlight their pro bono initiatives, such as INTA’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse, which provides free legal services to eligible entrepreneurs and small businesses in Latin America and other parts of the world.

The first of five sessions was held on September 3 with Agustina Davis, Associate at INTA’s Latin America and the Caribbean Office, talking about the importance of trademarks and the difference between trademarks and other IP rights.

On September 23, INTA member Andrés Grunewaldt (Silva, Chile) participated in the second of five conversations conducted by Constanza Alvial, an attorney responsible for the pro bono network and bonding at Fundación Pro Bono. Ms. Alvial and Ms. Davis began the session by introducing their organizations and explaining how their pro bono programs work and how they can collaborate on these efforts.

Mr. Grunewaldt discussed the main challenges SMEs and nonprofit organizations face regarding IP protection, including lack of awareness of IP and its value and not knowing the difference between rights. For example, he said, they may confuse trademarks and domain names, or think that when they register a domain name that they own the trademark as well.

Other challenges relate to funding: they do not register their trademark because they do not have ample budget for filing fees or to retain a lawyer to continue the process in the face of an objection issued by the IP office or opposition from third parties.

Mr. Grunewaldt explained the difference between IP rights and the importance of understanding how these rights interact and how to protect a business on different fronts. He referred to the institutions in charge of registering IP rights and how the procedure works.

On choosing a name for a new business, he stressed the importance of originality and creativity. A creative name and/or logo helps give visibility to a new business and differentiate it from the competition. It is also important when registering it as a trademark and when registering the domain name, he said.

Regarding the length of the procedure, Mr. Grunewaldt said a procedure would be expedited if no objection is issued or opposition filed, for example. However, it could take longer when an ex officio objection is issued as well as when an opposition is filed because the applicant must respond to the objection or opposition, there may be a probatory term, and the Director of the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) must issue a final decision on the matter.

INTA member Francisco Carey (Carey, Chile) was part of the third session on September 30. Topics included trademark application procedures. Mr. Carey referred to the different types of trademarks that the Chilean law contemplates and gave several examples of causes that may prevent a sign from being registered as a trademark.

Mr. Carey also referred to INAPI and responded to questions regarding the costs of registering a trademark, as well as the length of the procedures, and the barriers that applicants may face during a procedure.

The next session was scheduled for October 14, with INTA member Eduardo Lobos (Sargent & Krahn, Santiago, Chile) talking about domain names and domain name revocation procedures in Chile.

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