In 2018, Colombia improved its IPR protections and moved from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List. Colombian law provides the same protections for U.S. companies as for Colombian companies in all IPR categories under the U.S.-Colombian Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) and other international commitments, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). In July 2018, Colombia enacted copyright law amendments to extend the term of copyright protection, impose civil liability for circumvention of technological protection measures, and strengthen enforcement of copyright and related rights. Colombia still needs to make additional progress on remaining intellectual property-related commitments under the CTPA, particularly provisions regarding copyright liability for ISPs and accession to the 1991 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91).
Colombia has an efficient patent and trademark office at SIC. Colombia is signatory to the Paris Convention on Industrial Property, the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Sound Recordings, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Brussels Convention on the Distribution of Satellite Signals, Universal Copyright Convention, the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Trademark Law Treaty and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. Like the U.S., Colombia participates in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH), permitting accelerated processing where there is a positive U.S. examination.
Colombia’s success combatting counterfeiting and IPR violations remains limited. While there have been some positive developments in the past year, related particularly to enforcement against counterfeit goods, a large amount of digital piracy and counterfeit goods remain. Colombian authorities cooperate with the United States on investigations. The DHS/ICE Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center reported on one especially successful operation in 2018, in which U.S. and Colombian officials coordinated to identify and seize 10 containers arriving at the port of Buenaventura, Colombia. Originating in China with false labeling, they were filled with counterfeit footwear labeled as brands including Nike, New Balance, and others. If authentic, the merchandise would have been worth an estimated USD 50 million.
Chec khttps://www.stopfakes.gov/welcome to see if the Office of Intellectual Property Rights has an IP Snapshot for the country in question, and link to it if available.
In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property. For background on these principles please link to the following article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov, or contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Stevan Mitchell atStevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.
Contact for More Information on Intellectual Property
Silvia Solis, Intellectual Property Legal Specialist
U.S. Department of Commerce (Washington, D.C.)
14th & Constitution Avenue, N.W. Room C-300
Washington, D.C. 20230
Laura Krishnan, Colombia Desk Officer
Tel.: (202) 482-4187
To access Colombia’s ICS, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.