Owners of intellectual property (IP) have many ways to protect
their valuable assets. Perhaps, the most obvious way is to register
intellectual property in the relevant jurisdictions and then
enforce those IP right against third party infringers.
When it comes to doing business in which your IP is involved,
specially in Latin American countries, two key points should be
taken into account: (1) that your IP rights be registered before
the relevant governing body, and (2) contracts should be drafted in
writing and IP should be covered in such agreements.
In regards to the first point, it is very important to protect
your IP by means of registration, since, unlike what happens with
copyright in which it is enough with the creation of the work to be
considered the author. In the case of industrial property, the
right is acquired through registration. If there is no
registration, it will be very difficult to defend the rights of
unauthorized use by third parties. Furthermore, hardly anyone will
be interested in acquiring rights of which there is no existence or
ownership. When the technology is not protected, it is considered
as public domain because there is no legal requirement that
requires the consent of anyone to use it.
The second key point mentioned in developing and protecting the
intellectual property of your company is contracts. Contracts and
intellectual property go hand in hand. No contract signed by your
company is unimportant and all details must be reviewed to ensure
that they enhance and do not harm your intellectual property
assets. In fact, it is through contracts that intellectual property
rights can be sold, licensed or even transferred. A bad contract
can lead to litigation, unnecessary expense, and a loss of valuable
Typically, IP appears in the following types of agreements: 1)
Non-Disclosure Agreements and Confidentiality Agreements 2)
Memorandum of Understanding 3) Agency Contracts 4) Work Contracts
5) Sale / assignment of your IP 6) Trademark/Patent and Technology
Transfer License 7) Joint venture agreements 8) Manufacturing
agreements 9) Distribution agreements 10) IT agreements 11)
Most companies not only rely on their employees but also
contractors, consultants or other companies to develop their
intellectual property. It is essential to enter into a contract
with that person or entity before starting work. Even the early
stages of work can give rise to important rights, and it is
important to determine from the get go, who is the owner of the
intellectual property that is created and how it will be treated in
It is important to note that these contracts do not need to be
long or overly formal, but they must be clear and contain adequate
language on intellectual property rights. It is important in this
area to obtain expert legal advice before entering into an
intellectual property agreement that binds you legally, no matter
how simple it may seem.
Contracts are very practical way of protecting your IP that
works hand in hand with registration. As many companies are now
aware, a large part of your business´s value derives from IP.
IP can create value and benefits in a number of ways: it can be
sold or licensed, offered as equity in a joint venture, offered as
a basis to enter into strategic alliances, integrated into a
current business or used to create a new business.
Over the years, we have seen a number of companies burned by not
taking the proper steps to protect their IP before doing business
in the Latin American Region. It is the reason we strongly suggest
putting in place a plan the moment you identify the Region as a
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Please be informed that the devaluation of 59% on the exchange rate used to calculate the official fees for foreign IP owners announced by the Government on February 18 has been finally published in the Official Gazette No. 40.865.
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