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: 2021-01-16

Chile remains on the Priority Watch List in 2020.

Ongoing Challenges and Concerns

Although there have been positive movement this year by Chile with regard to the implementation of certain intellectual property (IP) obligations under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement (Chile FTA), the United States continues to have serious concerns regarding long-standing implementation issues with a number of other IP provisions of the Chile FTA.

Chile took a step forward in 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 requested that Chile clarify the full scope of activities criminalized in the implementation of the law. In addition, 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. Chile also 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. To maintain the integrity and predictability of IP systems, Chile should use compulsory licenses only in extremely limited circumstances and after making every effort to obtain authorization from the patent owner on reasonable commercial terms and conditions.

Developments, Including Progress and Actions Taken

In the past year, Chile carried out strong enforcement efforts to combat counterfeits. The National Customs Service reported that it had seized more than 11.6 million counterfeit products in 2019, worth a total of nearly $139 million. Customs was also responsible for seizing more than five million items considered potentially harmful to consumers, 32.5 percent more than in 2018. The main types of merchandise in this category includes toys, medical devices and cosmetics. The National Institute of Industrial Property continued to make improvements to strengthen the climate for IP protection, reducing the average time of patent application processing to 3 years in 2019. With respect to the outstanding FTA implementation concerns noted above, the United States is closely monitoring potential legislation on TPMs, 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 fifteenth anniversary since the Chile FTA entered into force, and the United States expects to see additional tangible progress in these areas in 2020.

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 article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov, or contact Stevan Mitchell at ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights, at Stevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.

For additional IP information, please check Protecting Intellectual Property and also Corruption.

IP Legal Advisor for Chile:

Silvia Solis

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office – U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, U.S. Embassy Peru

Tel: +511920060597

E-mail: silvia.solis@trade.gov