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New Report Reveals Importance of Trademarks to Latin American Economic Activity, Employment, and International Trade

29-Oct-2019 | Source : INTA | Visits : 3247
LIMA, Peru - The substantial benefit of trademarks to 10 Latin American and Caribbean economies is the focus of a new report released today by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI). Industry sectors across the region that use trademarks intensively contribute an average 22 percent — US $766.6 billion — to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries studied.

The report, entitled Trademarks in Latin America: Economic Impact in 10 Latin America and Caribbean Countries, was conducted by Fundacion de Investigaciones Economicas Lationoamericanas (FIEL) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. The 10 countries were selected because they account for nearly 90 percent of the region’s combined GDP, and the levels of trademark activity differs from country to country.

The study found that each country has between 13 and 21 trademark-intensive sectors from a total of 45. Costa Rica has the most, while Guatemala has the least. Pharmaceutical products and cosmetics and cleaning products are part of trademark-intensive sectors across all of the countries, while clothing and footwear, food products, and communications and entertainment also feature prominently.

The study’s finding of an average 22 percent contribution to total GDP equates to US $1,487 of added value per person per year. Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala surpass this average. The report also reveals an average 18 percent contribution to employment, which is equivalent to 35 million jobs — a figure larger than the population of Peru. For every six jobs in the 10 countries studied, one is from a trademark-intensive sector.

Industrial sectors in Latin America with a higher focus on protecting trademarks also pay higher wages than the lesser-focused sectors. The report found that companies pay their employees an average of 19 percent more in wages, with Costa Rica recording the greatest increase in wages at 57 percent and Peru the second highest at 25 percent.

The study is the largest of its kind that focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean, building on a 2016 study released by INTA and ASIPI that analyzed the economic impact of trademark-intensive sectors across five countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

“The new report highlights the important role trademarks play in Latin America and the positive impact of trademark-intensive sectors on people’s lives,” Etienne Sanz de Acedo, Chief Executive Officer of INTA, said on the sidelines of a general session at ASIPI’s Annual Meeting in Lima, Peru.

“The findings are very encouraging, and it’s now up to policy makers to help accelerate the growth of trademark-intensive sectors by implementing stronger and more efficient trademark protection and enforcement systems,” Mr. Sanz de Acedo noted. “This can invigorate local businesses to develop goods and services that will enable them to explore cross-border business opportunities, and can attract more direct investment internationally, technological know-how, and talent, which in turn will assist the movement up the value chain. These efforts will bode well for brands, consumers, the economy, and society at large.”

Sectors with a strong focus on trademarks are responsible for, on average, 31 percent of exports and 34 percent of imports. Consequently, in all 10 countries studied, trademark-intensive sectors contributed US $17.80 to every US $100 exported, while trademark-intensive sectors were responsible for US $28.70 of every US $100 imported.

“Intellectual property as a whole, and trademarks in particular, have proven to be an ally for development in the Latin American countries,” said Elisabeth Siemsen, President of ASIPI. “Trademark systems favor economic growth and foster job opportunities; they are a relevant element to inform consumers and support consumers’ choice and, being not only a source identifier but also an information condenser, trademarks assist greater transparency in market economies.”

Ms. Siemsen added: “To support this positive role of trademarks, governments need to continue to strengthen the existing legal frame and the institutions with competence in the granting of rights and its enforcement. ASIPI is satisfied in joining efforts with INTA in the development of the impact study, which ASIPI foresees as a solid and illustrative reference in support to local—among other—economic, investment, and trade policies.”

Finally, the study finds the extent and reach of the contribution of trademark-intensive sectors to the economies in the selected Latin American countries aligns with the documented impact of trademark-intensive sectors in the United States and European Union, taking into account the differences in development between the areas.
To develop the study, FIEL reviewed available specialized literature, collected all relevant data on trademarks and economic data from the respective intellectual property offices of the 10 countries under analysis and of the World Intellectual Property Organization, and elaborated the corresponding estimates on the impact of the trademark-intensive sectors.

A sector is considered trademark-intensive if at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. The number of annual registered trademarks per employee in a single sector is higher than the average ratio corresponding to the whole economy.

2. The number of annual registered trademarks per unit of sales in a single sector is higher than the average ratio corresponding to the whole economy.

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