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News blog17 December 20215 min read

2021: The year in review (in the eyes of the Latin America IP SME Helpdesk)
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Verónica Canton

Argentinian Legal Consultant


With this article, we begin to say goodbye to this very special year. Before the Christmas celebrations begin, it is now the right time to take stock of the biggest news that we have covered for you throughout 2021 on Intellectual Property and Latin America. A marathon is observed in the region, in which all countries have taken measures to reach a common goal: greater protection of ideas and creations in the Latin American territory.

These changes benefit in general to EU SMEs, and that is why it is proposed in this article an analytical look at certain key decisions that achieved significant progress on this path towards the development of Intellectual Property in the 19 countries in Latin America.    

Trade marks

            Chile's adherence to the Madrid Protocol is probably the highlight of the year. This State will become a full member in 2022, and the fourth Latin American country to enter the treaty. Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico are already part of this system that facilitates the registration of trade marks through a single international application, which generates effects in several countries.   

            In Colombia, a new resolution came into force establishing the requirements that must be met when requesting the registration of non-traditional trademarks that are necessary to comply with the criterion of graphic representation.

            Another important change in Colombia was the amendment of the Code of Administrative and Contentious Procedure of Colombia. From now on, a double instance was created for the nullity claim on intellectual property matters: the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca will be competent to decide in First Instance and in Second Instance, the Council of State. This will affect complaints filed from 25 January 2022.

            In Honduras, the General Directorate of Intellectual Property (DIGEPIH) decided to join TMclass. This is a tool that allows users to search and translate products and services to and from any of the 44 available languages, as well as verify the correct classification of terms according to the Nice classification.

            For EU SMEs looking for a way to search trade marks in Latin America, this is your lucky day, since this year EUIPO made available the Andean Community CAN TMview with more than 1.3 million trade marks from Peru and Colombia. It is expected that marks from Ecuador and Bolivia will be added to the platform as soon as these countries join the platform in the future.

            Paraguay is since August 2021 a member of the Nice Agreement, which establishes a classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trade marks and service marks

            Last, both Governments of Chile and Argentina created new obligations applicable to the labeling of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The objective of both laws is to protect the consumer, warning about the presence of certain substances that in excess can affect their health.
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            In patents, the biggest news came from Brazil, where a judicial action put an end to the Brazilian validity term of 10 years from grant.  This change affects patents from all technological areas and will have retroactive effects to patents in the pharmaceutical sector, and "any technological area being challenged in lawsuits having as object the unconstitutionality filed until (and including) April 7th, 2021.

            In Chile, the Chamber of Deputies approved the short bill. This regulation aims to modernize the Chilean intellectual property system, facilitating the procedures of the patent application procedure. One of the novelties that this standard introduces are provisional patents that will allow applicants -who initiate a process- to have 12 months to gather all the necessary information. During this period, the viability of a request, its scalability and, projection can be evaluated, without losing priority.          

            Last, SIC Colombia and the European Patent Office (EPO) have signed an Enhanced Cooperation Agreement to achieve advanced collaboration that will strengthen the work of the SIC in the field of patents, by taking advantage of the search results in the state of the art and the examinations carried out by the EPO.

Industrial designs

            Paraguay has become a member of the Locarno Agreement, a multilateral agreement that establishes an international classification that is used to register industrial designs.       

            Peru incorporated its databases into WIPO’s Global Design Database, facilitating EU SMEs like yours with the search of industrial design registrations from the Hague System plus participating national collections.


            Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performance continues to gain accessions in Latin America, with the inclusion of two more countries Ecuador and Costa Rica. This pact is very important for artists, performers because it protects their economic and moral rights over audiovisual performances. 

Geographical indications

            In order to harmonize intellectual property legislation with international standards, the Autonomous Intellectual Property Service (SAPI) of Venezuela, incorporated into its system a new procedure for the grant of Geographical Indications.

Any other news

            Mexico has created a new autonomous customs body to coordinate with the armed forces in order to improve and preserve security at access points on the Mexican border.

            And last, Costa Rica has remarkably made the decision to become an official member of the OECD, becoming the fourth member country of the Latin American region to join the OECD, along with Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. This will have great benefits for this country and will surely have a remarkable impact in the field of intellectual property.    

In a nutshell, we can claim that Latin American countries are increasingly committed to achieving improvements in their respective laws on Intellectual Property. And, if you don’t want to miss any of the future good news about IP in the region, we suggest that you subscribe to our newsletter.

Should you have any questions after Reading the 2021 year in review, submit your inquiry to our Helpline service. It’s free, offered in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, and we answer you back within 3 working days.


Publication date
17 December 2021