On October 20, 2015, Raquel Araúz, Esq., the head of Mossack Fonseca’s (MF) Intellectual Property Division, gave a highly informative interview to representatives of the MF Marketing Division.
Raquel, we would like our readers to get to know you; please tell us about yourself and your career prior to working at MF
My pleasure, I’m 38 years old, and for the past 10 years I have been working here at MF. I started out as a legal assistant for Attorney Sara Montenegro. I then began developing the Intellectual Property (IP) Division with the guidance of Attorney Joanna Soto. I have been the director of the IP division since its inception four years ago.
Prior to joining MF, I spent several years working as an IP executive assistant, specializing in managing and protecting trademark portfolios.
Please tell us about your legal and continuing education
I attended the Latina University (Universidad Latina) in Panama where I studied law and political science. I have been a member of the International Trademark Association and the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property for the past six years. The International Trademark Association is a congress that brings together around 10,000 IP agents and lawyers. A group of our lawyers, along with the IP Division have been working really hard with these two associations.
Last year, for the first time, we attended the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition meeting―they are an organization focused solely on combating product counterfeiting and piracy. We also regularly attend local seminars and congresses to continually update our knowledge base.
In May of this year, my colleague Attorney Li An Chong and I were invited by the Panamanian consulate in Venice to talk about our complete range of legal services, as well as IP matters. We discussed the benefits of trademark registration with the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Verona Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Attorney Amauri Batista is a member of the International Offices Committee and the International Trademark Association.
Please tell us more about your team here at MF
I am fortunate to have a talented and highly committed team. I have an extremely able attorney, Jorge Gutierrez, who recently earned his master’s degree in litigation procedure. I also have a business administrator, Milena Pinilla, who is my IP analyst, and Eric Carvajal who is my legal assistant―he is in charge of monitoring our litigation process before the court. The team works directly with and is supported by a truly outstanding group of lawyers in our Legal and Trust Services Department.
What are the benefits of going to MF instead of another provider?
First and foremost, our dedication to quality service: MF is the only ISO 9001 certified law firm in Panama. We have over 500 staff members across every continent, and more than 35 years of experience. Our clients can register and protect their trademarks, patents, and copyrights not only in Panama, but in any country in the world, through our allied offices. We offer the highest commitment and most competitive costs and to our clients.
How would you define intellectual property?
It is the development of ideas, the creation of the mind, our inventions, dreams, art, and designs that should be protected―to make them unique. It is important to protect the rights over those designs, products or services―for many reasons―to avoid third parties taking advantage of your work. That’s the way I see it, I see it in a very passionate way. Keep in mind that intellectual property goes beyond simple trademark registration―it is everything that comes after that, and we work hard to ensure that no one else can take advantage of our client’s dream.
Please give us some specific examples of what constitutes intellectual property
Sure, we have been protecting trademark registration for all kinds of products and services―everything from cosmetics, fashion, sports, medical and pharmaceutical goods, education, entertainment, financial services, management, and many others.
Right now we are working with software developers. In fact, recently we have been working on protecting software developed by the Microsoft Corporation. We protect Giorgio Armani which is one of our strongest trademarks. We also provide trademark protection for Terpel, a company with over 2,000 gas stations in Central and South America.
Have you worked with artists?
Yes, I can give you a quick list off the top of my head of artists/celebrities that we are representing: Ingrid De Ycaza and Alfonso Bayza, both well-known singers; Ana Lucia Herrera, a local television producer; a well-known DJ, who goes by the stage name BK; Delian Arjona, a celebrity chef; Jossy Jimenez, a TV personality; Marita Art, an artist and painter; and the Mollar Group, who make hats and clothing with indigenous Panamanian designs.
What about authors of books or articles?
One example I can think of right away is Arriane Benedetti, who wrote the book “Más que Hermanos”. We made the copyright for her a month ago.
Have you worked with the pharmaceutical industry?
Sure, right now we represent the Megapharma Group, as well as Pharmavital, S.A., a company whose main products are anti-aging and life-lengthening medicines.
Have you worked with the food industry?
Oh, yes, absolutely. We are currently registering and protecting products such as bottled water (Aquacai), juices, hats, rice, condiments, dairy, and more. We also register and protect franchises (Chip a Cookie, Wendy´s) and well-known local restaurants (Athen´s Pizza, Brava) and, likewise, we are obtaining sanitary registrations before the Health Ministry―for all kind of foods, including: Ubuntu, maker of all-natural orange and pineapple juices.
That’s great. Let’s talk about trademarks, trade names, and designations of origin trademark registration. Can you give us a brief overview of this part of your work and give an example?
Sure. What we mostly do is trademark registration in Panama and abroad; 80% of our clients contact us because they want to centralize their trademark registration in Latin-America through our office. We are able, with our global reach, to provide that kind of service, from the availability search to obtaining the final trademark certificate. A good example is Mays Zona Libre, an import-export company located in the Colon Free Zone, with more than 25 trademarks in more than seven countries, including some in the Caribbean Islands.
We also provide comprehensive guidance and service to entrepreneurs.
And when you say global reach, do you have connections with law firms all over the world?
Yes, all over the world. We have a huge list of IP lawyers and agents for each country throughout the world. We have more than one allied office in each country and we have been developing these relations through the years―so right now we are covering the entire world.
For example, recently we started working with a client that creates software that is very similar to the Android Operating System―and they designed and manufactured a new smartphone. They developed their trademark in Honduras and we have been registering their trademark throughout all of Central and South America with enormous success.
What about the area of patents and industrial designs?
Right now, we have only 11 patents, but we are looking to greatly increase our market share in this area with a major marketing campaign scheduled to begin in January 2016. We are working on a brochure and a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Specifically, we are working on a campaign that should reach pharmaceutical labs like Pfizer and Genomalap―and we would like the labs that we are already representing for trademark registrations to also use us for their patent registrations.
How about copyrights and related rights. Can you give us a brief overview and an example?
We have been registering copyrights involving audio, media, books, software, and others. The software copyright is for Microsoft. Recently, we applied for the copyright of Aquacai―it involved the design of their water bottle―the bottle has a unique form that should be protected because in the bottom they have a mound from which the water is extracted. We protect that copyright for them not only in Panama but also in China and the USA.
What about litigation?
We have an experienced team of litigation lawyers at MF. Attorneys Sara Montenegro, Li An Chong, Amauri Batista, Alexandra Kourany, and Jorge Gutierrez, have all been defending the rights of our clients before the commercial courts, in the commercial area of civil matters. Sara Montenegro has a long history of winning cases.
I’ll give you an example. We had a client who was a professional athlete. She had a contract with a company that took advantage of her by claiming to have registered her alias. She wanted to use her alias to start her own clothing line. Unfortunately, the other company was already using her alias to sell clothing and other sports-related products. We soon found that she had never authorized the company to use her alias. At the end of the legal process we won the cancellation of the trademark.
As you know, Panama is a major logistical center for the transfer of goods through the Colon Free Zone. It is an ideal location to protect trademarks. Counterfeit goods are damaging in two ways: they drive down the prices of the legitimate product and, because they are typically of inferior quality, damage the brand as well. We work closely with the Customs Office to protect our clients’ interests, and do not hesitate to institute litigation whenever necessary.
Regarding the areas of sanitary or health and medical registration―we touched on it a little bit earlier, but would you expand on that area for us?
Yes, well, in addition to food and pharmaceutical registrations that we talked about earlier, we have been requesting registrations before the health ministry for cosmetics such as shampoos, conditioners, and personal hygiene products which are also regulated by the government.
MF offers a full-suite of legal and financial services―how does that help you in the IP Division?
It helps tremendously. MF is a one-stop shop where our clients can manage all of their legal and financial matters with one company. We offer our clients company formations, accounting services, asset management, immigration, trusts, foundations, and many other products and services. We also offer our secure, client portal whereby our clients can access their accounts 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
We are making a huge effort to promote not only IP services, but all that MF has to offer. It helps our clients to know that we have a multi-disciplinary team that is always prepared to give them the very best service in the industry.
Del 17 al 20 de noviembre se realizará la Conferencia Anual de Liderazgo para Latinoamérica.
Del 17 al 20 de noviembre, próximos, la Asociación Internacional de Marcas (INTA, por sus siglas en inglés) realizará la Conferencia Anual de Liderazgo para Latinoamérica.
De acuerdo con los organizadores, el evento será el mayor organizado por INTA en Latinoamérica hasta el momento y uno de los más importantes debido a que se han convocado las marcas más relevantes a nivel nacional e internacional.
‘Para realizar este evento se ha escogido a Panamá debido a que es uno de los países con más alto crecimiento empresarial y económico en Latinoamérica', señaló Sanz de Acedo, uno de los miembros principales de INTA.
De acuerdo con la fuente, dentro del encuentro se conformarán diversos comités de trabajo, dentro de los cuales Mossack Fonseca, reconocida por su vanguardia y calidad profesional, ha sido aceptada para colaborar participando en dos mesas de trabajo, lo cual ratifica el profesionalismo y compromiso que caracteriza al equipo legal y administrativo de la empresa.
INTA es una organización que busca defender las marcas comerciales y la propiedad intelectual teniendo en cuenta siempre la seguridad y tranquilidad del propietario de las marcas, para de esa manera lograr un comercio justo.
La reunión de liderazgo liderado por la Asociación Internacional de Marcas se llevará a cabo en el Hotel Hard Rock Panama.
El pasado mes de octubre se realizó con éxito la final del VI Concurso Rotario de Ortografía 2015, evento organizado por el Club Rotario Panamá Sur en conjunto con el Ministerio de Educación. En el mismo participaron jóvenes de 7, 8 y 9 grados de las 15 regiones educativas de nuestro país, resultando ganadora Kerube Jaramillo del Colegio Benigno Tomás Argote de la provincia de Chiriquí.
Esta iniciativa busca incentivar la práctica de valores como la disciplina y la responsabilidad, y reafirmar el uso de las reglas de nuestro idioma.
En la foto: Sr. Ceferino Torres del Depto. de Contabilidad del Grupo Mossack Fonseca y Sr. Heraclio Rojas, Rotario miembro del Comité de Ortografía.
Gracias al Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC), hijos de los colaboradores del Grupo Mossack Fonseca disfrutaron de talleres gratuitos
ARTE | Gracias al Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC), hijos de los colaboradores del Grupo Mossack Fonseca disfrutaron de talleres gratuitos de dibujo y pintura dictados por instructores expertos. Esta actividad forma parte del programa educativo del museo denominado ‘EducArte – Los niños unidos por el arte' y está dirigido a niños y jóvenes de diferentes edades con la intención de darles una visión positiva y emprendedora del mundo que los rodea y, sobre todo, despertar la creatividad de cada individuo.
Redacción La Estrella de Panamá firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mossack Fonseca Group is a leading international corporation which provides comprehensive legal, trust, technological and accounting services. With over 500 staff members in all continents, Mossack Fonseca provides personalized advice based on more than 36 years of experience in the market. They also offer world-class service through their exclusive online services which are available 24 hours a day.
Main Areas of Practice:
Company Formation Services:
As an international group that offers world-class competitive products and services, the Mossack Fonseca Group carries out research and development activities to identify the best opportunities and solutions for an ever-challenging global market. The firm can offer clients a variety of jurisdictions such as: British Anguilla, The Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Malta, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, The Netherlands, Nevada and Wyoming (USA).
Vessels & Yachts:
The firm offers a wide variety of services for both private and commercial yachts including registration, purchase and sale contracts, operating permits, credit requests, crew licenses, ship mortgages and international structures in a variety of advantageous jurisdictions.
Mossack Fonseca & Co. intellectual property specialists provide the necessary advice to clients seeking to apply for, obtain and protect patents, trademarks and service marks, and to record ideas as well as film and art work.
The firm advises clients on various commercial matters, particularly the drafting and execution of domestic or international contracts, such as: purchases and sales, personal and real guarantees, financial leases, factoring, franchises, technology transfers (know-how), exchanges, assignments, escrow agreements, negotiable instruments and securities.
Mossack Fonseca provides advice covering the full spectrum of legal financial processes, including syndicated lending, leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, derivative products, project finance, financial regulatory systems, insolvency and restructuring, and structured finance.
Tax & Customs:
As part of their comprehensive tax consultancy services and in order to cover the full range of their clients’ operations, Mossack Fonseca & Co. provides advice and ideas that are innovative, practical and useful in tax matters for high-profile transactions.
Mossack Fonseca & Co. provides assistance in immigration matters in the Republic of Panama and handle all visa procedures for tourists, immigrants, workers, investors, foreigners married to Panamanian businessmen/women and others. In addition, they render their services for extensions, exit and entry permits, residence, and naturalization applications.
Free Trade Zones:
Mossack Fonseca & Co. has experience carrying out all formalities for setting up companies in Free Trade Zones worldwide that include procuring physical space, import and export permits, handling customs matters, representation registrations and all required procedures with official administrative authorities. Mossack Fonseca & Co. works very closely with the Hong Kong Free Trade Zone and the Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama, the two largest in world.
Investments in Panama:
Panama’s economic activity has continued in recent years with positive and sustainable growth. This is a result of incentives, policies and efforts to attract foreign investment, as well as enhanced investment grades granted to the Republic of Panama by international ratings agencies. In order to leverage these benefits, the firm offers comprehensive advice on the various ways to benefit from existing incentives.
Other Legal Services:
Government bidding process, licensing, labour advisory, mergers and acquisitions, property and real estate, competition law, aviation law, telecommunications law.
As part of the Mossack Fonseca Group, Mossfon Trust Corporation is a fiduciary entity regulated by the Banking Superintendence of Panama since 1993. Our main focus is asset protection, tax and estate planning. To meet these objectives, the firm structures a wide array of corporate vehicles depending upon the individual needs of the client such as: fully managed trusts and foundations, captive insurance companies, and other types of vehicles. The firm also offers assistance in opening bank accounts and escrow services.
MF Accounting Services is a company created to meet the accounting needs of businesses and professionals around the world. Its goal is to maintain timely records of accounting transactions that arise from clients’ operations and/or activities. The firm relies on highly qualified Certified Public Accountants with expertise in financial and tax matters who are continuously striving to develop professionally.
• Presence in all continents
• 24 hour service
• Personalised advise
• Staff constantly being trained
• More than 500 employees worldwide
• Exclusive Online Services
• ISO 9001 certified law firm
PO Box 0832-0886 WTC,
Tel +507 205 5888
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The government has joined the list of OECD jurisdictions which exchange tax information automatically, but has said that it will only start implementing the new mechanism in 2018.
The Government of the Republic of Panama explained to users of financial services platforms in Panama and the international community, that the country has announced its commitment to implement the mechanism for automatic exchange of information from 2018, and that this will be done strictly done on a bilateral basis, which is mutual and conditional, to ensure the protection of confidentiality, as was announced by President Juan Carlos Varela last September during the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lauren Fabius, Senator Jacques Gautier, Vice-president of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Secretary General of the French Presidency, Jean Pierre Jouyet, all agreed that Panama “is no tax haven” and they recognized the “solid financial platform” of the Central American country, as stated by the Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This information was provided following meetings held between the Panamanian Vice-president and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel de Saint Malo, and the above-mentioned authorities during an official visit to Paris.
The Panamanian Foreign Minister applauded France, a member of the OECD Peer Review Group, for offering support to remove Panama from the European Union’s discriminatory lists. Read Article here.
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Este viernes, 20 de Noviembre de 2015, el presidente de la Asociación Internacional de Marcas (INTA), J. Scott Evans y el presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, José Eduardo Ayú Prado Canals, en representación de sus organizaciones firmaron un Convenio marco de Cooperación Académica y Asistencia Técnica.
A través de este Convenio ambas entidades han considerado conveniente establecer relaciones formales de cooperación para el logro de metas de crecimiento, orientadas al beneficio nacional y des arrollo humano de Panamá y la región, con sujeción a la normativa que les aplica y dentro de este parámetro, aunar esfuerzos y colaborar en la implementación de programas de capacitación y desarrollo de actividades que son de interés. Propios de sus atribuciones y responsabilidades.
Además, este Convenio marco de Cooperación Académica y Asistencia Técnica, servirá para desarrollar actividades de cooperación en el campo de marcas y otras áreas relacionadas como: el desarrollo de proyectos de colaboración relacionado a marcas, litigios, reforzamiento de los derechos de marcas, y otras áreas relacionadas; el intercambio de información, experiencias y material educativo; el desarrollo de estudios; y la organización de reuniones y conferencias.
Para el presidente de la Asociación Internacional de Marcas, J. Scott Evans, “Panamá juega un rol crítico importante en la economía global y en el comercio marítimo internacional, y esto sólo se incrementará con la ampliación del Canal de Panamá”.
Mientras que para el presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, José E. Ayú Prado Canals, esta cooperación brindará a los Tribunales de Justicia y Jueces, la oportunidad de ampliar sus puntos de vista acerca de la protección de los derechos de propiedad intelectual, en especial los signos distintivos y las marcas, para permitir que se conviertan en herramientas de desarrollo integral sostenible del país y de la región con reglas claras acerca de la competitividad y la inversión nacional y extranjera.
“A la vez, la economía de Panamá y la clase media están creciendo. La Asociación Internacional de Marcas busca la colaboración del Órgano Judicial para mejorar su efectividad hacia los titulares de marcas y los consumidores en Panamá y alrededor del mundo”, expuso el Magistrado Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Panamá.
La Asociación Internacional de Marcas (INTA por sus siglas en inglés) es la asociación global de los dueños de marcas y de profesionales dedicados a apoyar las marcas y la propiedad intelectual relacionada, a efectos de proteger a los consumidores y promover el comercio justo y efectivo. Los miembros reúnen más de 6,700 dueños de marcas, profesionales y académicos de más de 190 países, quienes se benefician de los recursos, política de desarrollo, educación y entrenamiento y de la red internacional de las marcas de la Asociación. Fundada en 1878, la Asociación Internacional de Marcas tiene su sede en la Ciudad de Nueva York, con oficinas en Bruselas, Shanghai y Washington, D. C., y representantes en Ginebra y Mumbai.
La Corte Suprema de Justicia, los Tribunales Superiores y Juzgados son los llamados a decidir los conflictos y resolverlos de forma independiente , rápida y confiable, asegurando el respeto a la Constitución y las leyes de la República, la protección de las libertades y garantías ciudadanas, la convivencia pacífica y la defensa de los valores esenciales de la Democracia.
La firma del convenio es la culminación de un proceso iniciado por el magistrado presidente en diciembre de 2014 en Mexico D.F., en la Asamblea Anual de la Asociación Internacional de Propiedad Industrial (ASIPI) y seguida en mayo de 2015 en San Diego, California, en la reunión anual de INTA. En ambas ocasiones por invitación recibida de los organizadores para dictar conferencias
Realizan panel de Propiedad Intelectual
Previo a la firma de este convenio, se realizó el panel sobre “La Propiedad Intelectual y el Poder Judicial” desde la perspectiva latinoamericana donde el magistrado presidente de la CSJ participó junto con la magistrada de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Paraguay, Gladys Bareiro de Modica; y el juez del Tribunal de la Comunidad Andinade Justicia de Ecuador, Hernán Romero Zambrano.
El magistrado Ayú Prado también expuso sobre el proceso que lleva Panamá ante la implementación de manera paulatina del Sistema Penal Acusatorio, sus bondades y fortalezas.
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November 20, 2015―The Judiciary of the Republic of Panama and the International Trademark Association (INTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets forth a foundation for future cooperation between the two groups, and recognizes both the need for robust intellectual property (IP) systems in a rapidly changing and increasingly integrated global economy as well as the central role of Panama in international maritime trade.
Panama’s economy and infrastructure have driven its rapid rise in the areas of maritime trade and intellectual property protection.
Panama has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, to wit:
•Over the past 10 years, Panama’s GDP has grown at an annual average rate of 7.8%.
•The IMF has projected Panama’s GDP growth at 6.1% and 6.4% for 2015 and 2016, respectively―far outpacing all countries of North and South America.
•Poverty levels in Panama have been reduced from 39.9% to 26.2% percent over the past decade.
•The Panama Canal is arguably the most important maritime waterway in the world, connecting North and South America and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
•In 2016, the Panama Canal expansion project will be completed. The existing locks can handle cargo ships carrying up to 5,000 20-foot containers (TEUs). The expanded locks will handle megaships carrying up to 13,000 TEUs. The expanded canal will only bolster Panama’s role as an international business hub, and the canal’s annual revenue is projected to increase from $2.6 billion in 2014 to $6.2 billion by 2025.
•A vastly expanded, ultra-modern international airport with connections throughout the world.
•The world’s second largest free trade zone with170 multinational companies and over 100 international banks
Panama’s Maritime Trade and Intellectual Property Protection
Both INTA and the Panamanian government appreciate the impact of the Panama Canal expansion on global trade and the global trademark community. Transshipment and transit of goods through free trade zones and free ports contribute significantly to the trafficking of counterfeit goods, and eighty percent of the goods passing through the canal are goods in transit. The MOU will serve to develop cooperative activities in the field of trademarks and other related areas. INTA and the Judiciary have already begun organizing judicial training seminars. Other areas of future cooperation include:
•Development of collaborative projects related to trademarks, dispute settlement, trademark rights enforcement, and other related areas;
•Exchange of information, experiences and educational materials;
•Development of studies; and
•Organization of meetings and conferences.
“Panama plays a critically important role in the global economy and international maritime trade and this will only increase with the expansion of the Panama Canal,” said INTA President J. Scott Evans. “At the same time, Panama’s economy and middle class are growing. The INTA looks forward to working with the Judiciary to enhance its effectiveness for brand owners and consumers in Panama and around the world.”
The INTA released this micro-documentary video to explain the impact of the Panama Canal expansion on brand owners and consumers around the world.
Source: The International Trademark Association
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PRIMERA EMPRESA DE SERVICIOS LEGALES CERTIFICADA EN ISO 9001
Mossack Fonseca & Co. es la primera y única empresa de servicios legales certificada por la Norma ISO 9001:2008 en la República de Panamá. La misma recibió la nueva certificación del sistema de gestión de calidad global de la SGS, entidad de certificación acreditada bajo el aval del Servicio de Acreditación del Reino Unido (UKAS por sus siglas en inglés) y el Instituto Nacional de Normalización Estadounidense (ANAB por sus siglas en inglés).
La Norma ISO 9001:2008 es una norma internacional, basada en los criterios elaborados por la Organización Internacional de Estandarización (ISO por sus siglas en inglés) y utilizada en organizaciones como el referente mundial para garantizar la capacidad de una organización de satisfacer los requerimientos de calidad y mejorar sus procesos para así obtener la satisfacción del cliente. Mossack Fonseca & Co. Ha adoptado la Norma ISO 9001:2008 con el fin de que su desempeño pueda orientarse, estructurada e integralmente, hacia el camino de la excelencia.
La norma ISO 9001:2008, formal e independientemente reconoce una política que ya es parte integral del enfoque de Mossack Fonseca & Co para hacer negocios, donde la excelencia en los servicios legales es una prioridad.
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El Grupo Mossack Fonseca se enorgullece en formar parte de las más prestigiosas asociaciones internacionales de la industria.
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