EU Promotes Intellectual Property Protection For Colombian Small Business Through : IP Key” Initiative
The European Union is sponsoring a project to help small and medium sized businesses in Colombia take full advantage of their rights under Colombian and international intellectual property law. The program is called IP Key, and operates under the auspices of the European Union Intellectual Property Office. Finance Colombia’s Loren Moss was able to have a conversation with Pedro Duarte, the leader of the project, called IP Key América Latina.
Finance Colombia: How many small and medium sized firms properly register their trademarks, patents and copyrights in Colombia?
Pedro Duarte: In the last four years, 440 SMEs requested 666 patents, representing 25% of the patent applications filed by residents, 222 SMEs requested 474 industrial designs representing 42% of the designs requested by residents and 26,176 companies requested around 71,291 brands
24% of the patents in force from residents are from SMEs and correspond to 6% (475) of the total patents in force in Colombia and 46% (773) of the registers of industrial designs in force, 303 are from SMEs.
Finance Colombia: In some countries, there is a common law protection for copyrights, with protections extending even beyond registered works. What are the different intellectual property protections available to businesses in Colombia?
Pedro Duarte: The different types of industrial property protections in Colombia for businesses are: Patent, Utility model Patent, Industrial Design, Layout designs of integrated circuits, Trademarks, Trade names, Designation of origin.
Finance Colombia: What steps must Colombian companies take to ensure that their intellectual property protections extend across borders?
Pedro Duarte: They can make use of different treaties such as the PCT Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol for the registration of their trademarks.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) assists applicants in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions, helps patent offices with their patent granting decisions, and facilitates public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions.
The Madrid System is a convenient and cost-effective solution for registering and managing trademarks worldwide. File a single application and pay one set of fees to apply for protection in different countries.
Finance Colombia: Many firms don’t register for fear of high legal costs, such as for intellectual property law firms or patent searches. What avenues are available for Colombian companies to obtain the required protection without incurring insurmountable expenses?
Pedro Duarte: Currently, companies in Colombia can count on different support programs to achieve the protection of their industrial property, such as:
PAI – PROGRAMA DE ASISTENCIA A INVENTORES: The Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) is a WIPO initiative in cooperation with the World Economic Forum – is the first global program to match developing country inventors and small businesses with limited financial means with patent attorneys. These experts provide pro bono legal assistance to help inventor’s secure patent protection.
CATI – CENTROS DE APOYO A LA TECNOLOGÍA Y LA INNOVACIÓN: These are Technology and Innovation Support Centers: they give personalized guidance and assistance on the different options for the protection of inventions, innovations, brands and designs, they also facilitate access to the technological information contained in the patent documents as an input for the innovation.
ESTRATEGIA NACIONAL DE PROTECCIÓN DE INVENCIONES: This is aid in co-financing for the drafting of the patent application, filing fees at the national level at Colombia’s National office – Superintendence of Industry and Commerce – SIC and the filing of patent applications at the international level through PCT.
Finance Colombia: What things must small international businesses, perhaps exporters keep in mind when entering Colombia as a market?
Pedro Duarte: SIC provides with a wide range of information and clarification sessions, that will allow any entities to acquire knowledge and act upon the protection of its IP rights. Moreover, there is an EU project, called Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk that will give direct support to entities entering into the territory.
Finance Colombia: What protections do international firms have when entering the Colombian market? Are there international treaties or framework that extend protection?
Pedro Duarte: In the case of trademark registration, international companies can make use of t