Chile - Country Commercial Guide
Protection of Property Rights

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2022-01-26

Chile remains on the Priority Watch List in 2021.

The United States continues to have serious concerns regarding the implementation of certain intellectual property (IP) obligations under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement (Chile FTA). Chile took a step forward in 2018 by passing legislation establishing criminal penalties for the importation, commercialization, and distribution of decoding devices used for the theft of encrypted program carrying satellite signals. The United States has urged Chile to clarify the full scope of activities criminalized in the implementation of the law. The United States also urges Chile to provide remedies or penalties for willfully receiving or further distributing illegally-decoded encrypted program-carrying satellite signals, as well as the ability for parties with an interest in stolen satellite signals to initiate a civil action. Concerns remain regarding the availability of effective administrative and judicial procedures, as well as deterrent-level remedies, to right holders and satellite service providers. In addition, Chile must establish protections against the unlawful circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs). The United States continues to urge Chile to ratify and implement the 1991 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Convention (UPOV 91) and improve protection for plant varieties. The United States also urges Chile to make effective its system for resolving patent issues expeditiously in connection with applications to market pharmaceutical products and to provide adequate protection against unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure, of undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products. The United States urges Chile to improve its Internet service provider liability framework to permit effective and expeditious action against online piracy.

In 2018, Chile’s Ministry of Health issued Resolution 399, which declared that there are public health reasons that justify issuing compulsory licenses on certain patent-protected drugs used to treat hepatitis C. While Chile has not issued a compulsory license, the resolution satisfies an initial legal requirement after which a third party may then make the request. The United States urges Chile to ensure transparency and due process in any actions related to compulsory licenses. Stakeholders have expressed concerns over the vagueness of certain provisions of the “Pharmaceuticals Law II” bill under consideration by the National Congress.

Developments, Including Progress and Actions Taken

Chile continues to carry out enforcement efforts to combat counterfeits. The National Customs Service reported that it had seized more than 8.7 million counterfeit products in 2020, (compared to 11.6 million in 2019). Customs was also responsible for seizing more than 18.9 million items considered potentially harmful to consumers, 267% more than in 2019. The main types of merchandise in this category includes food and cosmetics. The National Institute of Industrial Property continued its efforts to strengthen the climate for IP protection. Despite the workload adjustments forced by the pandemic, the average processing time for patent applications moved up only to 3.1 years versus 3.0 years in 2019, and Chile reduced its patent backlog by 7.7% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Chile currently seeks to accede to seven additional WIPO treaties/agreements, including the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks. The Senate approved a bill for adherence to the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks on May 19, 2021. Chile’s implementation of Madrid Protocol provisions will start in 2022.

With respect to the outstanding FTA implementation concerns noted above, the United States is closely monitoring potential legislation on TPMs. The Minstry of Cuture and Arts is drafting an amendment to Chile’s IP law covering TPMs. Other areas for monitoring are an effective mechanism for the early resolution of potential patent disputes, and the implementation of UPOV 91.

The United States will continue to work closely with Chile to address IP issues. This year marks the sixteenth anniversary since the Chile FTA entered into force, and the United States urges Chile to make additional tangible progress in these areas in 2021. For additional IP information, please check Protecting Intellectual Property and also Corruption.

Silvia Solis

IP Legal Advisor for Chile

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Embassy Peru