Colombia this week became the first Latin American country besides Cuba to officially join the Protocol.
Lawyers there seemed ready for the change, having had years to mull it over, but some said that more traditional firms are still resisting. “IP lawyers put a lot of pressure on the government not to accept the Protocol in negotiations,” said Alvaro Ramirez Bonilla of B&R Latina. “The older firms don’t want to lose money. I think it’s a valid fear. Lawyers are going to lose trade mark work.”
In the Latin America and Caribbean section of this year’s IP Handbook, which is now live, lawyers in Mexico seemed equally resistant. Mexico’s Senate recently voted to approve legislation that will allow the country to accede. “In a country like Mexico, where 80% of the filings are from foreign companies, are you benefiting your national companies at all?” asked one attorney. “If we [accede], I think it will be a nightmare for everybody. We don’t have a system that’s ready for that.”
Firm and market editorials for eight jurisdictions in the Americas are now live, including the United States and Canada.
Lawyers in the US discussed trends in alternative fee arrangements, patent reform and the changing role of IP in business. “Now, CEOs and people running these large corporations are looking at how IP fits into the business,” commented one attorney. “They’re bringing IP to the corporate boardroom.”
In Canada, this year’s survey reveals unprecedented movement among firms, and lawyers weigh in on landmark decisions such as the Canadian Patent Office’s allowance of Amazon.com’s controversial one-click patent.
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