11 November 2014

Due to hit your desk soon: WIPR Nov/Dec in 60"

ASIPI, the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property, describes its forthcoming get-together in late November/early December as its “most important event in the last 50 years”. So why, you might ask, is it taking place in Mexico City?

While Mexico has many commendable attributes, including its extraordinarily varied cultural history, it is also known for its high crime rate. That, of course, includes IP crime, so for this issue of WIPR we decided to speak to Arturo José Ancona García-López, who leads Mexico’s special IP crime unit, about the issues facing the country.

His unit is dedicated to stamping out IP abuse, and Ancona admits Mexico has persistent problems in this area that require action, particularly in counterfeiting and piracy. But there have also been successes. Throughout this administration, he tells us, the unit has made efforts to dismantle counterfeit factories, and has achieved wins in the detection and dismantling of clothing and footwear factories throughout the country.

Counterfeit products, which smugglers attempted to take through the country’s customs barriers, have been seized, and these seizures have yielded what Ancona calls “substantial amounts” of fake cigarettes, batteries and electronics. His unit is targeting online abuses too.

Economically, socially and in so many other areas, Mexico seems to be on the verge of substantial progress. Yet as far as IP crime is concerned, the jury is still out on whether it will be able to shake off the scourges of counterfeiting and piracy.

Here in London, where WIPR is based, our sister publication Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review held a roundtable discussion recently on some of the important issues facing IP practitioners working in the life sciences field. At the end, we asked what we should discuss next time, and one subject that was raised immediately was the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent.

Due to come into force in 2017 in 25 EU member states, the UPC will allow pharmaceutical and other companies to litigate Europe-wide patents in a single action, but it remains highly controversial. Consequently, in this issue of WIPR we decided to look at whether drug companies really are likely to steer clear of the UPC, seeing it as too risky and deciding that they have too much to lose. We shall see.

Martin Essex, Managing editor

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