Colombia IP Development

IP OVERVIEW OF COLOMBIA

      Colombia is a WTO and WIPO member and joined the major international IP treaties including Rome Convention (1976), Berne Convention (1988), Paris Convention (1996), Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (2001), Trademark Law Treaty (2012), Madrid Agreement (2012), Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (2012), Marrakesh VIP Treaty (2013), and Brussels Convention (2014). Colombia is also a party to the Andean Community legal system.
  In Colombia, National Directorate of Copyright and Ministry of Justice and Human Rights act as the national copyright offices; whereas the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is in charge of the protection of industrial property.
  

Patent
  The patent regime in Colombia currently provides a 20- year protection for patents, a 10-year term for industrial designs and reverses the burden of proof in cases of alleged process patent infringement. Provisions covering protection of trade secrets and new plant varieties have improved Colombia’s compliance with its TRIPs obligations.
  Although Colombian law provides, for example, a 20- year protection for patents and a reversal of burden of proof in cases of alleged patent infringement, it is deficient in the areas of compulsory licensing provisions, working requirements, biotechnology inventions, transitional protection, and protection from parallel imports.
  In Colombia, the right holder can file civil or criminal actions before the courts in order to prevent the infringement of a patent right. Since 2000, Colombia became a contracting party of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
  

     On May 14, 2004, Canada enacted an Act to amend the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act (The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa).
 
     This enactment amends the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act to facilitate access to pharmaceutical products to address public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics. Drug patents are allowed to be used for international humanitarian purposes to address public health issues and to re-endorse the system of compulsory licensing of patents to improve domestic drug accessibility.

Trademark
  Colombia is a member of the Inter-American Convention for Trademark and Commercial Protection. Colombia’s trademark protection requires registration before the PTO.
  No rights arise from use of signs in the market, unless it is a well-known trademark. Trademark registration provides a 10-year protection, renewable for consecutive 10-year periods. Priority rights are granted to the first application for a trademark in another Andean Community country or in any country which grants reciprocal rights. A trademark right holder can bring civil or criminal actions before the courts.
  Remedies include damages and preliminary injunctions.
  

Copyright
  Colombia belongs to both the Berne and the Universal Copyright Conventions. According to Colombian copyright law, protection arises from the moment the artistic work is created. Colombian copyright system is governed by Law 23 of 1982, Law 44 of 1993, Decision 351 of the Cartagena Agreement, and the Criminal Code. Colombia’s 1993 copyright law significantly increased penalties for copyright infringement, specifically empowering the Attorney General’s office to combat piracy.
  When the owner is a natural person, protection lasts for the life of the author and 80 years after his death. When the owner is a legal entity, the protection lasts for 50 years since the date the work is made public. The right holder can bring an action before the courts. Civil and criminal actions are available. Remedies include damages and preliminary injunctions. Colombia’s copyright defines computer software as copyrightable subject matter, but does not classify it as a literary work. Semiconductor design layouts are not protected under Colombian law.

     On June 22, 2016 act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) came into force. The Act defines a wide range of print reading disabilities by providing an impediment or obstruction to a person's reading of an original form of disease as a print-reading disorder that applies to literary, musical, artistic, or theatrical works, but does not include film works.
 
     After the adoption of the Act, non-profit organizations (including the Government) that provide reproductions for print-disabled persons or circumvent a technical protection measure for this purpose in certain circumstances shall no longer constitute infringement, provided that the work cannot be obtained by commercial purchase in a similar form. The Act also allows persons with sensory impairments to make or acquire a work for themselves in a specialized form, allowing for any conduct to be performed for that purpose, including circumvention of technical protection measures where necessary.
 

Trade Secret
  According to decision 486 of the Andean Community of Nations (ACN), information is protected as a trade secrete whenever it meets the following conditions: is indeed secret; has monetary value; in order to keep it undisclosed, is subject to protection mechanisms by its holder.
  This sort of protection provides shelter from unauthorized use, disposition and/or disclosure, thereof, where certain conditions are met, although there is no specific time frame for this sort of protection. In order to enforce these rights, the right holder can bring an action before the courts, under unfair competition laws and/or bring an action for breach of contract. In this case remedies include damages and injunctions.
  Protected property includes trade secrets which are kept secret and have an effective commercial value or a potential commercial value as secrets. The decision requires that the person wishing to maintain the secrecy of a product take reasonable steps to ensure that secrecy.

 

Source: International IP Law Firms 2015

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