On April 26th, it is celebrated the World Intellectual Property Day. In this time of crisis, it is important to address some points in which research and development, but especially its correct protection, take special importance.
Limits to Patent Law – Patents and compulsory licenses –.
The Government of Costa Rica made a request to the World Health Organization (WHO), to facilitate “the access and use of intellectual property of technologies to detect, control and treat the pandemic of COVID-19″.
Although this petition is a good idea, there are a series of legal mechanisms with which we will have to work with this possibility.
Given the worldwide public health crisis caused by COVID-19, many governments are taking extraordinary measures to deal with the barriers that patents can pose. For this, the established legal method is known as the granting of compulsory licenses, which are issued over a period of time following a procedure established by law.
Our Patent Law contemplates this possibility in its article 20, indicating that it can be given whenever there are qualified reasons of extreme urgency, public interest, emergency or national security. In this case, the Executive Power, by decree, may submit the patent or the patent application to a compulsory license at any time, even without the agreement of its owner, so that the invention may be exploited by a state entity or by third parties authorized by the Government, that yes, will have to compensate him “reasonably”
Undoubtedly, one of the sectors most affected by the COVID crisis is the Artists and Performers (AIE) sector, which, in Costa Rica, has not yet been recognized with the payment of copyright, even though it exists the legal mechanisms to do so, such as the Rome Convention, of which Costa Rica is a party.
With the aim of giving economic relief to artists, the Association of Performers of Costa Rica (AIE), as well as the Association of Composers and Musical Authors (ACAM), have made available to their members, allocating resources from its Social Welfare Funds to alleviate the situation that is going through, providing resources to meet basic and essential needs in the short term.
To do this, they have enabled the form under the link https://forms.gle/RhccfHsG5HAz8WVf8for people who need it.
Costa Rican Patent and Trademark Office
For its part, the Industrial Property Registry has established a series of specific measures to maintain the provision of its services, always seeking to abide by the sanitary provisions established by the competent government authorities.
As a summary, the registry has taken the following measures:
- Enabling an email to send documents related to Industrial Property files.
- The possibility of submitting extension requests to provide documents was enabled, including cases in which the Law does not allow the extension of time limits.
- In the case of priority applications, it is allowed to refer to the link that contains the priority document, avoiding its physical presentation.
- Additionally, in compliance with the guidelines of the Government of Costa Rica, the Directorate has reduced its personnel, leaving only 20% of the personnel in person.
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