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IP LAW & BUSINESS UPDATE

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND FTAA IN PANAMA

The Government of Panama is negotiating to sign FTAA, which includes a chapter on Intellectual Property (IP). With the signing of the FTAA, Conventions such as the Madrid Arrangement concerning the International Registration of Marks, and the and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) will be mandatory in the Republic of Panama.

Panamanian Industrial Property Association (APADEPI in Spanish), disagrees totally with the Intellectual Property Chapter of the Draft Agreement, since among other things its contents will eliminate advances achieved, as a result of the local Law enacted. It includes the international use, no distinction between foreign and national trademark.

CHINA, A MEMBER OF THE WTO

With the inclusion of China, as a member of the World Trade Organization, new IP business will certainly arise in the Latin American region.

Chinese manufacturers never cared too much for trademarks and the development of trade names to protect their services. The inclusion of China as a member of the WTO, creates a new opportunity to protect their strong industry under the figure of trademarks bringing IP registration and protection of such trademarks to the Latin American region.

Another interesting factor is that the price of products will be more equally shared and producers will earn more for their products, raising even more the Chinese Power over manufacturing.

PLANT VARIETIES IN PANAMA

A plant variety is protected under Panamanian Law, if it fulfills five (5) essential conditions, as follows:

Novelty: Means that the variety has not been offered for sale or marketed by the grower or authorized person in the territory of the Republic within one (1) year from the date of application, or in the territory of another state within four (4) years and, in case of trees and grapewines, within six (6) years prior to such date.

Different: A variety is considered different if, one or several important characteristics distinguish it from any other variety which, on the date of application, is well known.

Homogeneous: Varieties shall be deemed to be homogeneous if their relevant characteristics are sufficiently uniform, despite foreseeable variations resulting from the peculiarities of its vegetable reproduction or multiplication.

Stability: A condition which occurs after the reproduction or continuation process and which, regardless of the number of times the particular variety is reproduced or multiplied, retains the same essential characteristics of the plant corresponding to the variety presented by the applicant for protection.

Name: Names are required to differentiate one variety from other, so that characteristics, value and identity of that variety shall not be liable to error or confusion.

BARRIER MEASURES

Our country's Intellectual Property Law confers discretionary powers and faculties to Customs and The Colon Free Zone authorities to conduct investigations and retain any goods suspected of being imitations, including the confiscation of equipment used to manufacture the fake goods. The Attorney General's Office and the Customs Bureau are officially empowered to initiate investigations on Intellectual Property matters.

The Customs Bureau and the Free Zone Administration are duly empowered to keep records of the Panamanian Intellectual Property Registrations for companies who wish to protect their intellectual property through barrier measures. Morgan & Morgan offers the service of registering your company's Panamanian Trademark Registration before the Customs Bureau and the Colon Free Zone.