As the largest and most populous country in Latin America, it was often difficult in the past for owners to protect the intellectual property relating to their products and services in Brazil against counterfeiting and piracy.
Moreover, the enforcement of IP rights in counterfeiting cases can be complex, often impacting diverse legal areas (including industrial property, copyright law, software, and internet law).
In recent years there has been room for optimism due to increased co-operation between enforcement authorities at national and international levels. Just last year, for example, federal, state and city authorities collaborated in major raids across various Brazilian cities. This action led to the seizure of hundreds of tons of counterfeit products. Also in 2020, Brazilian and international authorities (from the US and UK) co-ordinated to take down unprecedented numbers of illegal streaming sites across Brazil.
Worryingly, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new factors into play when considering exposure to counterfeiting and piracy risks. The existing complexities have now been magnified at a global level due to companies facing serious supply chain issues. In addition, reacting to the pandemic, consumers are now increasingly turning to online shopping, making them easier targets for counterfeiters.
Like many other countries, Brazil is currently facting problems related to so called “Vaccine Piracy” involving the sale of counterfeit vaccines and and other products realated to the protection against or treatment of Covid 19.
In response, the authorities have launched campaigns to alert citizens about health risks and to make clear that at this time only the Brazilian government is authorized to provide the vaccine, free of charge. Furthermore, government consumer agencies are investigating web pages suspected of offering pirated vaccines or misleading the public.
Brazil’s Anti-counterfeiting Council (CNCP) recently met with other government entities and stakeholders and identified its main goals for the first half of this year, suggesting a new study on Piracy and the related socio-economic impacts. The study will be conducted with support from UNESCO and will involve the reformulation of the National Plan to Combat Piracy, based on the Government’s recent National Intellectual Property Strategy (ENPI).
The meeting also resulted in the establishment of Five Special Commissions:
- Special Commission to monitor adhesions and application of the Best Practice Guides launched in 2020;
- Special Commission to reformulate the national plan to combat piracy;
- Special Commission on hardware;
- Special Commission on drugs, prostheses, hospital equipment, pesticides;
- Special Commission to suggest other legislative partnerships to support the CNCP.
Further, the discussion included the application of agreements with the National Film Agency – ANCINE, the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO and the advertising market. Future initiatives also include training and educational campaigns in partnership with United States Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office – UKIPO.
In this unfamiliar environment caused by the pandemic, it is increasingly important for companies doing business to consider how the recent shift in consumer behaviour will impact their operations. While the new challenges are evident, the Brazilian government has been taking some significant steps to tackle counterfeiting and privacy in the country. Meanwhile, important protection measures may be adopted, by developing clear due diligence procedures and applying best practices models.
At Daniel Law we are continuing to monitor the latest developments in relation to privacy and counterfeiting in Brazil, including new industry standards, legislation, and decisions by the courts. If you have any questions on this topic do not hesitate to reach out.