Investment in Latin America and Change in the Food Industry


For anyone interested in investment in Latin America or in branding issues in the food industry, there are sessions tomorrow that will provide what you need to know. Aislinn Burton reports.

Session CT51  IP Checklist for Investments in Latin America (Tuesday, 3:30 pm—4:45 pm) Santiago O’Conor, Managing Partner at O’Conor & Power (Argentina), will be moderating a panel tomorrow that will review the trademark registration proceeding systems in Latin America.

 According to Mr. O’Conor, the discussion will address why protection of trademarks and domain names in the region is vital by exploring factors such as Latin America’s investment opportunities, large population, and growing economies.

The session will then move on to discuss the latest news from each country represented on the panel.

“Mexico is one of the most important countries for registering and protecting IP rights in Latin America,” says panelist Fernando Becerril, a Partner at Becerril, Coca & Becerril S.C. (Mexico). Mexico’s adherence to the Madrid Protocol and the new trademark law recently passed by the Mexican Congress are two examples of the “more efficient methods” available to owners looking to protect their rights in the country.

Pablo Cariola, Senior Associate at Sargent & Krahn (Chile), another panelist, adds: “Chile is not a part of the Madrid Protocol, but it has improved IP rights protection a lot.” For example, he says, the examination period in the trademark registration process has been shortened to less than six months.

Elisabeth Siemsen, a Partner at Dannemann, Siemsen (Brazil), also on the panel, will discuss how Brazil has improved its trademark law and practice in order to modernize and align the IP laws with those of other regions. There is discussion about Brazil entering the Madrid Protocol, but Ms. Siemsen notes that Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property has “not yet reached the examination timelines” prescribed by the Protocol.

Session IT50  Industry Breakout—Food Revolution: Branding and Trademark Issues Arising in the Rapidly Changing Food Industry (Tuesday, 3:30 pm—4:45 pm)

William Miller, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at General Mills Inc. (USA), who will be moderating the panel, says that one of the major trends impacting today’s food industry is that many people learn about brands from social media rather than marketers.  

“They often care as much, if not more, about whether the company supplying their food shares their world values than how the food itself tastes,” he adds.

“At the speed the industry is moving today, design elements quickly become commonplace or a market trend.”

The panel will include Sandra Buja, Associate General Counsel at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (USA), who believes the growth of e-commerce means that “now more than ever” it’s vital for brand owners in the food industry to establish and protect brand identity.

“At the speed the industry is moving today, design elements quickly become commonplace or a market trend,” Ms. Buja explains. “IP professionals already know it is impossible to protect every element, so it is important to define the key brand-identifying elements and strategically protect them.”

According to Mr. Miller, the session will explore the rapidly evolving interactions people have with food, and why these changes mean that “the trademark professionals representing these brands need to be more agile, more engaged, and more connected.”

Also speaking on the topic are Michael Kelly, Senior Corporate Counsel at, Inc. (USA); Mark Leonard, General Counsel at Jelly Belly Candy Company (USA); and Toam Rubinstein, an Associate at Reed Smith (USA).

INTA, INTA 2018, Santiago O'Conor, O'Conor & Power, Pablo Cariola, Sargent & Krahn, Madrid Protocol, William Miller, Latin America, domain names