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Enforcement of IPRs in Colombia


Enforcement of IPRs
The major cause of counterfeiting in Colombia lies in the fact that the enforcement measures are weak and the penalties from the government for illegal activities are not significant. Therefore, it is appropriate to say that Colombia has also not been able to reduce significantly the large number of pirated and counterfeit goods crossing the border or being sold in the markets, on the street, and other distribution hubs around the country.
Drugs and medicines most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Colombia.
The Andean Decision 486 is the applicable IP law for trademarks, patents, and other rights in the Andean Community, which includes the Decree 4540 of 2006, the Memorandum 0004 in January of 2008, and the Law No. 23 on Copyright.
Copyright, Trademarks, Patents, and Industrial Designs are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Colombia.
The proprietors of intellectual property, in order to defend their rights, often resort to filing of cease and desist orders.
The statute of limitations for filing the infringement actions is as follows:
  • 02 years from the date of the infringement for regular trademarks; and
  • 05 years from the date of infringement for well-known trademarks.
Plaintiffs must pursue a criminal action within 08 years from the infringement. Concerning civil remedies, the current position of the courts is that the statute of limitations period commences from the date on which the first infringement is committed. Concerning criminal remedies, the law establishes that the statute of limitations period commences from the date on which the infringement actually ceased.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
The usual timeframe for infringement actions is approximately 03 years in criminal proceedings and 1.5 years in civil proceedings.
A) Responsible Authority – The General Prosecutor’s Office, Civil Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals.
B) Imprisonment Term - Trademarks: 02 to 08 years; Copyright: up to 05 years; Patents: 03 to 08 years
C) Monetary Fine - Trademarks: Between 30 to 120 average days’ wages; Copyright: $250,000 per offense.
In Colombia, amicable composition (a sort of mediation, which ends up in a mandatory solution reached by a third party), conciliation (which may end up in settlement guided by a mediator), and arbitration (which ends in a final enforceable ruling) are available. Colombia is amenable to arbitration and is part of most international conventions or treaties on the matter. Arbitration is used and advised in disputes arising from contracts, such as licences and franchises. Conciliation is widely used to solve infringements that are not seen as counterfeiting. Parties are encouraged to seek settlement considering the efficiencies involved.
The remedies available under border control measures (customs) in Colombia include seizure and destruction of goods, fine, and imprisonment of up to 08 years.
The applicant must bear the costs of the customs intervention during enforcement.
Court Proceedings