Intellectual Property FAQ

1. What is intellectual property and what are the intellectual property rights?

The intellectual property is a term to designate certain creations of the mind as intangible assets. It’s purpose is to protect authors and their creations, and to ensure that they will get rewarded in exchange for their input on society. Under the intellectual property laws, exclusive rights are granted to the authors, so that only they can decide who and how their work is used or distributed.

The intellectual property concept can imply creations such as songs, poems, artistic artwork but also discoveries, inventions, trademarks and even words or symbols.

2.What is the intellectual property protection and why is it important?

Protecting intangible assets is just as important as protecting tangible assets. The difference lays in the fact that without the intellectual property protection laws, this creations of the mind would lack of economic value and remain disabled of entering the competitive market.

In this way, the protection of the intellectual property promotes people’s creativity. Ensuring them to earn a compensation for their imagination and originality; and also encouraging the use of intellectual creations to generate wealth through innovation in industry, commerce and culture development.

3. Which are the institutions that ensure the intellectual property?

Intellectual property rights are granted to an individual -or legal entity- by a specific government to rule over its territory. Therefore, each country counts with and independent trademark and patent office that rule only within their jurisdiction.

That is why, if you want to pursue a plan of regional goals, let’s say register a trademark in the whole Latin American region as a conglomerate, we are your best choice!

4. What is the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty)?

As we said before there are no such things as international patent applications since these rights are granted from an specific government to a person or its designee. Nonetheless, there are some mechanisms to earn partial protection and time, while you get your documentation right in order to establish a regional protection plan for your invention. One of these mechanisms is applying to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The PCT is an international patent law treaty founded in the 1970s. Its goal is to unify the process of granting patents around the contracting states by allowing the applicants to enter an international phase, where some protection is granted while the patentability of the invention is being evaluated.

These does not mean, however, that the applicants won’t have to fulfil later the processes of facing the respective national or regional entities on the second phase of the application but this can take until 30 months. The international application or PCT does not result in the grant of an international patent itself, but it delays the time you will have to deal with the respective trademark and patent offices in the countries you want your invention protected.

The list of all the contracting states of the PCT can be found on WIPO.

5. What is the Paris Convention?

If you want to protect your intellectual property on an international level, here is another alternative you might want to consider. Besides the PCT, there is this international treaty called the Paris Convention. It’s an intellectual property rights treaty back from 1883 in which most countries of Latin America are included. But what does it does?

The Paris Convention’s objective is to ensure that any intellectual property registered in one of the affiliated countries is protected in all the territories of the rest of the conventions countries. Once again this is not an international trademark or patent application. You are still going to be required to register your property on the respective national trademark and patent office, but you are going to be previously protected and you will earn a priority right.

The priority right provides that an applicant from one contracting State shall be able to use its first filing date (in one of the contracting State) as the effective filing date in another contracting State, provided that the applicant files another application within 12 months.

The list of all the contracting states of the Paris Convention can be found on WIPO.