Bogota Event Draws Policymakers from the Region

Bogota, Colombia The International Intellectual Property Institute and the Instituto de Ciencia Política with the collaboration of the Inter-American Development Bank, recently hosted a conference to identify the legal and institutional needs of an Andean patent system. The Conference, The Andean System of Patents and the Andean FTA, Two Tools for Economic Development (Sistema Andino de Patentes y el TLC, Dos Herramientas Para el Desarollo Economico), took place in the Hotel Bogota Royal in Bogota, Colombia and was covered by three of the largest newspapers in Colombia – El Tiempo, La Republica, and Portafolio. Over 120 people attended, among them attorneys, executives, and representatives from various interest groups.

The Hon. Bruce A. Lehman, IIPI’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and Founder, was among the many international intellectual property rights experts in attendance. While the event identified and discussed policy alternatives to strengthen the Andean intellectual property system, Hon. Lehman’s remarks highlighted the difficulties patent offices around the world are experiencing in keeping up with patent applications. He concluded his remarks by explaining how a harmonization of the current system in the Andean region can be successfully accomplished. Alfredo Corral from the Ecuadorian Institute for Intellectual Property and Luís Alonso García, an IP expert from Perú, added to the discussion by outlining the viability of establishing an Andean patent office and the benefits that can be achieved for the region by the creation of such an office. Finally, Jairo Rubio, head of the Colombian Patent Office, discussed the challenges facing an Andean patent system.

The discussion was met with a universal willingness to take the steps needed to harmonize the existing system. While not all the Andean countries are on the same ideological ground as Ecuador, Perú, and Colombia, the panelists and attendees were confident a collective will can be achieved in the region.