The recent bill and its recent regulating decree constitute a major change for the protection of Intellectual Property in Paraguay establishing a substantial change in the perception of Taxes and Revenues for the exclusive use in the field of Intellectual Property. Furthermore, it increases the existing rates and payment of fees for any procedures to be performed on a file not previously contemplated, for example, request class suitability, seek abandonment, etc.
The Intellectual Property protection system of Paraguay has been run by the State for several years . Since its inception in 1889, with the First Law of Trademarks to the current law of 1998, the sole unit has been the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This largely prevented professionalism, specialized knowledge and independence of the institution.
This past year, the National Intellectual Property Directorate, which will be known by the Spanish acronym “DINAPI”, was created by law and it was recently regulated by the executive branch. In short, this law removes from the sphere of the Ministry of Industry and Trade supervisory powers in this area and gives this new entity more power, for instance, in the fight against counterfeiting.
The creation and implementation of DINAPI this year, means a new direction for the protection and defense of intellectual property rights in Paraguay. This new department encompasses and manages Trademarks, Copyrights, Invention Patents, Industrial Designs, Utility Models, Technology transfer, Geographical Indications and other related rights that could be legislated or regulated.
Its main function is to issue the technical regulations for the implementation of any activity within its jurisdiction throughout the country, in accordance with relevant legislation. In sum, DINAPI is set as the responsible organ for ensuring compliance with the commitments made by the State under international conventions and agreements.
Though, a questionable point is referred to the administrative authority to reject a trademark renewal title by the National Director. Historically the renewal of trademarks involved a right granted to the proprietor, so that once sought to renew, the Director was not able to reject it, even irregularities may have existed in its concession.
DINAPI is headed by a National Director, who legally represents the institution and may also provide general and special powers for judicial and administrative proceedings. This replaces the Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who used to understand legal issues, especially in administrative disputes. In addition, the Director has the power to appoint and remove officers of the entity. Consequently, the National Director will have ultimate responsibility for the administration of issuance and protection system of any matter related to intellectual property rights in Paraguay
In the past months, the Executive Branch has regulated this law creating the following Directions for compliance and enforcement according to the objectives set by DINAPI:
DGPI: General Industrial Property
DGDAC: Directorate General of Copyright and Related Rights.
DGO: Enforcement Directorate.
This decree also regulates the International Relations Directorate created under the DINAPI act as the organ responsible for ensuring compliance with the commitments made by the State under international conventions and agreements.
On the other hand, in the fight against anti counterfeiting this law introduces two new features as a separate Enforcement Directorate and a Counterfeit reporting system.
The separate Enforcement Directorate is mainly in charge of the promotion and protection of Intellectual Property Rights in all its forms and the fight against anti counterfeit. It develops preventive and investigative activities to suppress the effects of crime piracy and counterfeiting, being empowered to make administrative interventions to avoid the violation of intellectual property rights. The actions may be taken ex officio by the institution or by a direct challenge to the DGO by holders or their representatives. It can also take action by undertaking at customs checkpoints, in business premises, and in other locations administrative investigations and proceedings involving alleged intellectual property infringements.
Also, a “Counterfeiting and Piracy Reporting System” has been set in place, with emphasis on the protection of the identity of the Complainant.