About Intellectual Property Rights in the Dominican Republic

Sobre Derechos de la Propiedad Intelectual en la República Dominicana - About Intellectual Property Rights in the Dominican Republic

Forty years ago (in 1978) it was unthinkable to have the communication resources with which we have at present. Globalization was not known and trade barriers were very common. Today, (2018), the reality is different and the old paradigms have been replaced by a new way of doing things. At the same time, new ways of doing business have been introduced, a new form of competition between companies at the national level; a new way of competing in international markets and, finally, a new way of understanding technological development and innovation.

Societies have evolved vertiginously in recent years. The advancement of science and technology has been of vital importance for the development of peoples. Today’s world is rotating on the basis of wisdom and knowledge. In this regard, it is necessary to move towards an economy that, in addition to being based on knowledge, promotes innovation, research, technological development and the training of knowledge workers as new sources of competitive advantages that promote development.

A tool that contributes to increase and encourage knowledge, creation and innovation is intellectual property. This, in a broad sense, recognizes a particular right to authors, creators, inventors or other holders of rights over works derived from the human intellect. However, it is worth noting that intellectual property is not an end in itself, but rather its correct use by governments, research and development centers, universities, entrepreneurs, researchers, creators, lawyers, engineers and other users, generate effects that favor society and contribute to the achievement of economic objectives, competitiveness, innovation and development traced by governments.

The nature of intellectual property includes the protection of goods and services resulting from the creation of the human intellect. It is granted through copyright, literary and artistic works and industrial property that includes patents, trademarks and other distinctive signs. Breeder’s rights are another form of intellectual property, and protect plant varieties. These go far beyond representing simple goods that generate wealth to their holders through protection.

For developed countries, such as the United States, Japan, Germany, among others, intellectual property plays a very important role because the protection of their trademarks, patents and works by copyright and other intellectual assets generate resources economic sectors that make up a large part of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For this reason, these countries are always developing strategies to encourage the use of intellectual property.

Likewise, in recent years, developing economies and countries such as China have developed strategies to promote the culture of intellectual property, through the incorporation of adequate systems to use it.

Throughout its history, intellectual property has been based on the fundamental principle that the recognition and retribution of the ownership of inventions and creative works is a stimulus to new inventive and creative activities, and to their it promotes economic growth. This uninterrupted process, from problem to knowledge, imagination, innovation, intellectual property, solution in the form of improved products and new technologies, continues to be a powerful driver of economic development.

It is known, for example, that the patent system is one of the best mechanisms to stimulate innovative activity and, in doing so, contributes to increasing performance and competitiveness among companies.

Patents are an important element of the intangible assets portfolios of companies and are increasingly managed as an asset when they are used to access financial markets (using patents as quality certificates), purchase, sale and negotiations in the technology market, through license agreements.

In the same way, patents are one of the most complete and up-to-date sources of technological information, easy and, generally, free of charge once they have been made public, allowing them to whom they consult them, to know the latest information. technology. This helps to solve technical problems that, otherwise, without having access to said information, will take considerable time to be solved.

If we continue to list elements linked to the way in which intellectual property contributes to competitiveness, it could be indicated that distinctive signs, for example, are extremely useful in providing the business sector with elements that make them more competitive and characteristic of the foreign competition industry, by differentiating their similar or identical products and services offered by different producers or service providers.

To increase the artistic production in the country, what better than to have a solid and reliable system of copyright and related rights, which provides peace of mind to the creators of artistic works and the guarantee that they will be able to dedicate their time to their work? and receive the income that corresponds to them. There are so many effects that a successful management and use of intellectual property can achieve, that its illustration would be endless.

The national productive sectors, such as the agricultural sector, the cultural industries, basic and higher education, the health sector, tourism, the biotechnology industry, research and development and innovation, science and technology, industry food, software, etc., can also enhance their development through the proper and intensive use of the intellectual property system. Companies and productive sectors should only resort to the use of the patent system for the protection and obtaining of technological information, trademarks, appellations of origin, copyright and related rights, as well as collective trademarks, commercial names, among others, especially the national PYMES.

In summary, it could be said that in view of the great diversity of products nationally and internationally, for a country to be competitive it must produce innovative goods and services, with a high added value and an intensive knowledge. The possibility of achieving this seems to depend, in some way, on the place occupied by ideas and creativity in a given society, as well as the strengthening and articulation of the public and private institutional framework to promote research. scientific and technological and the generation of knowledge that can be and is protected by Intellectual Property instruments, often unknown by the majority of the population.

Article 52 of the Dominican Constitution recognizes and protects, expressly, the exclusive right of property of authors and inventors over their works, inventions, innovations, brands, distinctive signs and other productions of the human intellect.

Law 20-00 on Industrial Property and its implementing regulations, as well as Law 424-06, which implements the Free Trade Agreement between the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States of America (DR-CAFTA), govern the relating to inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, trade names, signs, emblems, geographical indications and appellations of origin in the Dominican Republic.

Law 65-00 on Copyright and its implementing regulations, as well as Law 424-06, above, protect the rights of authors, as well as the related rights of performers, phonogram producers and organizations of broadcasting

The Dominican Republic has ratified numerous treaties related to intellectual property, including the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization for the Intellectual property.

The National Office of Industrial Property (ONAPI), attached to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is the government agency in charge of the concession, maintenance and validity of patents for invention and utility models, as well as industrial design registrations and of distinctive signs. These records are public and can be consulted for free at ONAPI.

The National Copyright Office (ONDA) is the specialized body of the State, attached to the Ministry of Culture, responsible for the implementation, through the National Copyright Registry, of the registration of works, performances, productions, etc., protected by Law 20-00. These records are public and can be consulted for free in the ONDA web page.

To protect industrial property rights, it is essential to register with ONAPI for the benefit of its owner, although a right of priority is recognized for industrial property that has been registered in other countries on the basis of international agreements ratified by the Dominican Republic.

Virgilio Santana Ripoll

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