According to Decision 486 of the Andean Community Commission, member countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) are to implement a new joint system for the protection of industrial property. The decision will become effective on December 1 2000 and in the case of Venezuela there will be no need for legislative approval or regulation, pursuant to constitutional provisions regarding initiatives for regional integration.

Decision 486 offers protection to certain distinctive signs (recognized by the relevant industry in each member country), and guards against unauthorized use and registration. Specifically, Article 233 states that when a distinctive sign is registered as part of a domain name or e-mail by an unauthorized third party, authorities may order the cancellation or modification of the name or e-mail, at the sign owner's request. This provision is applicable when misuse of the distinctive sign:

  • may cause confusion regarding similar or identical activities to those offered by the legitimate holder of the sign;
  • causes economic/commercial damage to the holder (where the sign is used for non-related activities); or
  • constitutes unfair exploitation of the prestige or goodwill of the distinctive sign.

It is yet to be seen how this rule will be applied for top-level domain names, since the only domain names that can currently be registered by the authorities of member countries are:

  • .bo for Bolivia;
  • .co for Columbia;
  • .ec for Ecuador;
  • .pe for Peru; and
  • .ve for Venezuela.

Decision 486 also offers new protection for circuit board layouts which was not available in the member countries before.

For further information on this topic please contact Luis Miguel Vicentini at Baker & McKenzie by telephone (+58 212 276 5111) or by fax (+58 212 264 1532) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

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