12.30.11

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Cablegate: President Chavez Smeared for Favouring Free/Open Source Software, Venezuela Added to Shame List

Posted in America, Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Venezuela gets the “PRIORITY WATCH LIST” treatment, meaning that it gets sanctioned or at least warned for not kneeling to Western monopolies (‘IP’)

US resistance to the authorities in Venezuela may have been boosted by Microsoft's interests that are all about money and subjugation. If Venezuela accepts Microsoft’s software, then it accepts software which is controlled by US powers, making it simpler to topple those authorities. According to the following Cablegate cables, Free/open source software gets mentioned unfavourably 3 years in a row, in relation to so-called ‘IP’ (monopoly on knowledge). A cable from 2007 says: “The piracy rate for business software in 2006 is 84 percent, according to International Intellectual Property Alliance statistics — a 6 percent increase from 2005. U.S. software companies have repeatedly come under attack from the BRV as exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the “neo-liberal” trap of IPR. In 2004, the BRV passed legislation that mandates the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not necessarily a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors.”

The 2008 cable is similar. It states:”The piracy rate for business software in 2007 was 86 percent, according to the Business Software Alliance. U.S. software companies have repeatedly come under attack from the BRV as exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the “neo-liberal” trap of IPR. In 2004, the BRV passed legislation that mandated the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors.”

In 2009 it says: “In 2004, the GBRV passed legislation that required the use of open source software throughout the public sector. While not a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors. The piracy rate for business software in 2008 was 87 percent, according to the Business Software Alliance. The market for legitimate CDs and DVDs continues to decline. As Venezuela imports a high number of virgin discs, the country may be a distribution source and a production center for counterfeit products. The National Film Law, passed in August 2005, requires distributors to locally copy a percentage of the movies they distribute and to register all films, leading to unauthorized release of confidential information and piracy.”

Once again they lump software in with counterfeits to bloster their case for so-called ‘IP’ and make the government of Chavez weaker. Here is the 2007 cable:


VZCZCXRO3434
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHTM
DE RUEHCV #0366/01 0521438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211438Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7899
INFO RUEHZI/WHA IM POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000366 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EB/IPE CLACROSSE, DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR 
JCHOE-GROVES, DOC JBOGER, DOC PLS PASS TO USPTO JURBAN AND 
LOC STEPP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights], VE [Venezuela] 
SUBJECT: 2007 SPECIAL 301 RECOMMENDATION:  KEEP VENEZUELA 
ON PRIORITY WATCH LIST 
 
REF: A. STATE 7944 
 
     B. 06 CARACAS 486 
     C. 05 CARACAS 596 
 
¶1.  Summary: (SBU)  The BRV's protection and enforcement of 
IPR continues to deteriorate.  The market for legitimate 
music CDs is eclipsed by piracy, with piracy rates for CDs, 
DVDs, and business software hovering around 80 percent. 
SAPI, the agency that oversees IPR enforcement and issues 
patents, has not issued a single patent since 2004. 
Venezuela's customs and tax agency, SENIAT, has achieved some 
success in its anti-piracy campaigns and seizure of 
contraband, but overall enforcement of IPR legislation 
remains ineffective.  The implementation of proposed legal 
changes would further weaken IPR protection.  Based on the 
BRV's antipathy to IPR, weak enforcement and possible legal 
changes to further strip away IPR protection, Post recommends 
that Venezuela remain on the Special 301 Priority Watch List 
for 2007.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------- 
The Pharmaceutical Industry 
--------------------------- 
¶2.  (SBU) The international pharmaceutical industry continues 
to see a weakening of IPR protection in Venezuela.  Despite 
Venezuela having the highest per-capita pharmaceutical 
consumption in Latin America, and being the third largest 
market in the region, SAPI, the Autonomous Intellectual 
Property Service (the country's primary IPR authority), has 
not issued a patent to an imported pharmaceutical product 
since 2003, and has not issued a patent in any sector since 
2004.  SAPI has continued to receive an average of over 500 
patent application submissions per year.  Since 2002, the BRV 
has failed to protect pharmaceutical testing and other 
confidential data for product submissions that have not yet 
 
SIPDIS 
received patent protection.  The BRV does not provide linkage 
between patent and sanitary registration.  Counterfeiters can 
receive sanitary registration approval in the absence of a 
patent -- equivalent to marketing approval for a counterfeit 
product. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) The legal framework in Venezuela for pharmaceutical 
protection is ambiguous after the BRV withdrew from the CAN 
(Andean Community) in April 2006.  Venezuelan law had 
incorporated over 650 legal decisions from the Andean 
Community into domestic law, including Decision 486, a 
pronouncement on protection of intellectual property rights. 
The most recent domestic intellectual property legislation in 
Venezuela dates from 1955 and does not provide for patent 
protection.  Venezuelan courts have, de facto, continued to 
apply Decision 486, though they have offered no assurances 
that they will continue to do so. 
 
--------------------------- 
Recorded Media and Software 
--------------------------- 
¶4.  (SBU) The market for legitimate CDs and DVDs continues to 
decline.  According to a Post IPR source, there are 
approximately 1.8 million music CDs sold annually in 
Venezuela and 80 million virgin discs imported.  This would 
indicate that Venezuela is not solely a distribution source, 
but a mass production center for counterfeit products. 
Industry estimates the piracy rate for music CDs at 85 
percent, a two percent increase from 2005.  The National Film 
Law, passed in August 2005, requires mandatory registration 
of all films, which could lead to unauthorized releases of 
confidential information and contribute to piracy. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
¶5.  (SBU) The piracy rate for business software in 2006 is 84 
percent, according to International Intellectual Property 
Alliance statistics -- a 6 percent increase from 2005.  U.S. 
software companies have repeatedly come under attack from the 
BRV as exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the 
"neo-liberal" trap of IPR.  In 2004, the BRV passed 
legislation that mandates the use of open source software 
throughout the public sector.  While not necessarily a 
violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has 
concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation 
and favoritism shown to certain vendors. 
 
--------------- 
IPR Enforcement 
--------------- 
¶6.  (SBU) IPR enforcement in Venezuela continues to be weak. 
Enforcement problems derive for the most part from a lengthy 
legal process, unprepared judges, as well as lack of 
 
CARACAS 00000366  002 OF 002 
 
 
resources for investigation and prosecution.  A single 
special prosecutor is responsible for IPR issues. 
Consequently, investigations are severely backlogged.  Under 
current Venezuelan law, most IPR enforcement actions can only 
take place as a result of a complaint by the rights holder. 
In addition, the complainant is responsible for the cost of 
storage of allegedly illicit goods during the investigation 
and trial.  A loophole in the law only permits actions 
against copyright violators operating at a fixed location, 
effectively barring prosecution of street vendors. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) SENIAT remains the one bright spot in a dismal 
landscape of respect for IPR with noteworthy efforts to fight 
piracy in conjunction with its "zero tax evasion" mission. 
SENIAT proposed an Anti-Piracy Law in 2006.  We do not expect 
this proposal to be signed into law.  In February 2007, 
SENIAT reportedly destroyed 450,000 pirated CDs and 280,000 
pirated DVDs.  SENIAT superintendent Jose Gregorio Vielma 
Mora has called on the BRV to provide the legislative 
framework to protect author's rights, adding that enforcement 
efforts to stamp out counterfeiting requires enhanced 
cooperation of SENIAT, local police, and the national guard. 
Coordinated efforts, to date, have been minimal. 
 
---------------------------- 
Legal Changes on the Horizon 
---------------------------- 
¶8.  (SBU) Proposed legal changes, if implemented, would 
result in further weakening of the IPR regime in Venezuela. 
The National Assembly has delegated to President Chavez, for 
a period of 18 months, the power to issue decrees carrying 
the force of law.  Both the pharmaceutical and recording 
industries expressed their concern to us over potential abuse 
of this power to push through legislation that would further 
weaken the IPR regime.  In particular, there is concern that 
Chavez may sign into law a controversial copyright bill 
dating from 2004, which apparently was no longer on the 
legislative agenda.  The bill would violate a reported 31 of 
Venezuela's bilateral and multilateral IPR treaty obligations 
including the Bern Convention and TRIPs.  It would reduce the 
protection period for copyrights from 60 to 50 years and 
would allow the BRV to expropriate artistic rights for the 
public sector.  Venezuela has not yet ratified the WIPO 
Copyright Treaty or the WIPO Performances and Phonograms 
Treaty. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
¶9.  (SBU) Venezuela continues to be an unfriendly environment 
for intellectual property rights.  Pirated and counterfeit 
products abound, and piracy rates are climbing.  Despite 
SENIAT's efforts, overall enforcement remains weak.  The BRV 
has dedicated few resources to investigating and prosecuting 
IPR crimes.  The legal regime for IPR protection is in a 
state of uncertainty after Venezuela's withdrawal from the 
CAN.  IPR protection will likely deteriorate in the upcoming 
year as Chavez may push through controversial copyright 
legislation that would further undermine IPR protection and 
violate Venezuela's treaty obligations.  Post recommends 
keeping Venezuela on the Special 301 Priority Watch List for 
2007. 
 
BROWNFIELD

Here is the 2008 cable:


VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #0232/01 0532127
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 222127Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0650
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7695
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB LIMA 0959
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2774
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE

UNCLAS CARACAS 000232 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EB/IPE JBOGER 
DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR JCHOE-GROVES 
DOC PLS PASS TO USPTO CPETERS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights], VE [Venezuela] 
SUBJECT: 2008 SPECIAL 301 RECOMMENDATION: KEEP VENEZUELA 
ON PRIORITY WATCH LIST 
 
REF: A. STATE 9475 
     B. 07 CARACAS 366 
     C. 06 CARACAS 486 
 
¶1. (SBU) Summary: The BRV's protection and enforcement of IPR 
continues to deteriorate.  The market for legitimate music CDs is 
eclipsed by piracy, with piracy rates for CDs, DVDs, and business 
software hovering above 80 percent.  SAPI, the agency that oversees 
IPR enforcement and issues patents, has not issued a single patent 
since 2004.  Based on the BRV's antipathy to IPR, weak enforcement, 
and possible legal changes to further strip away IPR protections, 
Post recommends that Venezuela remain on the Special 301 Priority 
Watch List for 2008.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------- 
The Pharmaceutical Industry 
--------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) The international pharmaceutical industry continues to see 
a weakening of IPR protection in Venezuela.  Despite Venezuela 
having the highest per-capita pharmaceutical consumption in Latin 
America, and being the third largest market in the region, SAPI, the 
Autonomous Intellectual Property Service (the country's primary IPR 
authority) has not issued a patent to an imported pharmaceutical 
product since 2003, and has not issued a patent in any sector since 
2004.  According to a local IPR contact, SAPI received 2,958 patent 
applications in 2007 (over 50 percent of these were from the 
pharmaceutical industry), of which zero were approved.  (Note: SAPI 
approved 26 designs.  End Note.)  Since 2002, the BRV has failed to 
protect pharmaceutical testing and other confidential data for 
product submissions that have not yet received patent protection. 
The BRV also does not provide a linkage between patent and sanitary 
registrations.  As a result, counterfeiters can receive sanitary 
registration approval in the absence of a patent -- equivalent to 
marketing approval for a counterfeit product.  Eduardo Saman, the 
Director of SAPI and the newly appointed Director of the National 
Institute for the Defense of the Consumer (INDECU), has argued that 
trademarks and patents impeding the fabrication of generic medicines 
or the reproduction of technology should be considered monopolies. 
Monopolies are prohibited under the Venezuelan constitution. 
 
--------------------------- 
Recorded Media and Software 
--------------------------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) The market for legitimate CDs and DVDs continues to 
decline.  According to a Post IPR contact, in 2007 there were 
approximately 1.9 million music CDs sold in Venezuela and 90 million 
"virgin" discs imported, ten million more disks than in 2006.  This 
would indicate that Venezuela is not solely a distribution source, 
but may be a production center for counterfeit products.  Industry 
experts estimated the piracy rate for music CDs at 88 percent in 
2007.  The number of street vendors selling pirated DVDs and CDs on 
the highway during rush hour has also visibly increased over the 
last year.  One local report estimated losses due to pirated CDs at 
USD 50.6 million.  The 
 
¶4. (U) National Film Law, passed in August 2005, requires 
distributors to copy in Venezuela a percentage of the movies they 
plan on distributing locally and to register all films.  Industry 
sources fear that this could lead to unauthorized releases of 
confidential information and contribute to piracy.  They estimate 
 
SIPDIS 
that 92 percent of movies purchased in Venezuela were produced 
illegally, and estimate losses of approximately USD 41.3 million. 
 
¶5. (SBU) The piracy rate for business software in 2007 was 86 
percent, according to the Business Software Alliance.  U.S. software 
companies have repeatedly come under attack from the BRV as 
exemplars of what President Chavez referred to as the "neo-liberal" 
trap of IPR.  In 2004, the BRV passed legislation that mandated the 
use of open source software throughout the public sector.  While not 
a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software industry has 
concerns about a lack of transparency in its implementation and 
favoritism shown to certain vendors. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
Tenuous Legal Protection of IPR in Venezuela 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) The legal framework in Venezuela for Intellectual Property 
Rights has become more ambiguous since the BRV withdrew from the CAN 
(Andean Community) in April 2006.  Venezuelan law had incorporated 
over 650 legal decisions from the Andean Community into domestic 
 
law, including Decision 486, a pronouncement on protection of 
intellectual property rights.  The most recent domestic intellectual 
property legislation in Venezuela dates from 1955 and does not 
provide for patent protection.  Venezuelan courts have, de facto, 
continued to apply Decision 486, though they have offered no 
assurances that they will continue to do so. 
 
¶7. (SBU) Numerous Post contacts have said that a new copyright law 
is expected to be decreed via the "enabling law."  In January 2007, 
the National Assembly delegated to President Chavez, for a period of 
18 months, the power to issue decrees carrying the force of law. 
Both the pharmaceutical and recording industries expressed their 
concern to us over potential abuse of this power to push through 
legislation that would further weaken the IPR regime.  In 
particular, there is concern that Chavez may sign into law a 
controversial copyright bill dating from 2004.  The bill would 
violate many of Venezuela's bilateral and multilateral IPR treaty 
obligations including the Bern Convention and TRIPs.  It would 
reduce the protection period for copyrights from 60 to 50 years and 
would allow the BRV to appropriate artistic rights for the public 
sector.  In 2007 the second-Vice President of National Assembly 
presented a different but similar version of this bill to the Andean 
Parliament.  Venezuela has also not deposited the instruments of 
ratification for the WIPO Copyright Treaty or the WIPO Performances 
and Phonograms Treaty, and we are told has not sent an official 
delegation to WIPO committee meetings since 2004. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
Government of Venezuela's Open Hostility to IPR 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶8. (SBU) In 2007, the BRV attempted to remove significant IPR 
protections from the Venezuelan constitution as part of President 
Chavez failed December 2 constitutional reform package.  Eduardo 
Saman, the director of SAPI and INDECU, drafted the proposed changes 
to article 98 that would have notably deleted any mention of abiding 
by established IPR law and international treaties and also would 
have removed the term intellectual property rights from the 
constitution, referring only to copyrights.  This measure was 
co-sponsored by cooperatives representing distributors of pirated CD 
and DVDs.  Despite the rejection of President Chavez' reform 
package, Saman has continued to issue anti-IPR statements and has 
said that he was trying to decriminalize the pirating of all works. 
 
 
------------------ 
Other IPR BARRIERS 
------------------ 
 
¶9. (SBU) The BRV's foreign currency controls have been another 
barrier to IPR in Venezuela.  The Currency Exchange Administration 
(CADIVI) has been blocking access to foreign exchange for companies 
attempting to pay royalties, patent license fees, and franchise 
fees.  As indicated in a June 2007 CADIVI resolution, 100 foreign 
currency requests to pay licensing fees from 2005 were allowed to 
expire due to improper paperwork, something IPR contacts deny. 
While CADIVI does not deny these currency requests, not acting on 
them prevents businesses from complying with IPR laws. 
 
--------------- 
IPR Enforcement 
--------------- 
 
¶10. (SBU) IPR enforcement in Venezuela continues to be weak. 
Enforcement problems derive for the most part from a lack of 
political will, lengthy legal processes, unprepared judges, and a 
lack of resources for investigation and prosecution.  A single 
special prosecutor who has one assistant is responsible for IPR 
issues in Venezuela.  Consequently, investigations are severely 
backlogged.  Under current Venezuelan law, IPR enforcement actions 
can only take place as a result of a complaint by the rights holder. 
 In addition, the complainant is responsible for the cost of storage 
of allegedly illicit goods during the investigation and trial. 
Trials can go on for years and storage costs are very high, making 
it unfeasible that someone will complete the legal process.  A 
loophole in the law only permits actions against copyright violators 
operating at a fixed location, effectively barring prosecution of 
street vendors. 
 
¶11. (SBU) SENIAT, the customs and tax enforcement agency, has been 
the one bright spot for IPR enforcement with noteworthy efforts to 
fight piracy in conjunction with its "zero tax evasion" and "zero 
contraband" missions.  In February 2007, SENIAT reportedly destroyed 
 
450,000 pirated CDs and 280,000 pirated DVDs.  Vielma Mora, the 
former superintendent of SENIAT, claimed to have invested USD 
32.5-37.2 million to fight piracy in 2007.  To avoid possible 
political fallout, SENIAT has sent employees outside Venezuela to 
receive IPR enforcement training.  However, on February 1, Vielma 
Mora, the BRV's lone IPR advocate, was fired.  Two weeks after this 
announcement, Post's contact at SENIAT declined to speak with us on 
SENIAT's IPR enforcement plans, saying she had to wait for new 
guidelines before sharing any information.  The Venezuelan copyright 
and trademark enforcement branch of the police (COMANPI) also 
attempts to provide copyright enforcement support with a small staff 
of permanent investigators.  Local IPR contacts have said that 
COMANPI, an agency known for its lack of personnel, limited budget, 
and inadequate storage facilities for seized goods, no longer has a 
functioning headquarters. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶12. (SBU) Venezuela continues to have an unfriendly environment for 
protecting intellectual property rights.  Pirated and counterfeit 
products abound, and piracy rates are climbing.  Overall enforcement 
remains weak and high ranking officials publicly express their 
disdain for IPR protection.  The BRV has dedicated few resources to 
investigating and prosecuting IPR crimes.  The legal regime for IPR 
protection is in a state of uncertainty after Venezuela's withdrawal 
from the CAN, and IPR protection will likely deteriorate in the 
upcoming year if Chavez pushes through controversial copyright 
legislation that would further undermine IPR protection and violate 
Venezuela's treaty obligations.  Post recommends keeping Venezuela 
on the Special 301 Priority Watch List for 2008. 
 
Duddy

Here is the 2009 cable:


VZCZCXRO8270
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT
RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHCV #0271/01 0621828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031828Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2678
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000271 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EEB/IPE 
DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON [Economic Conditions], ETRD [Foreign Trade], KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights] 
SUBJECT: 2009 SPECIAL 301 RECOMMENDATION:  KEEP VENEZUELA 
ON PRIORITY WATCH LIST 
 
REF: A. STATE 8410 
     B. 08 CARACAS 1427 
     C. 07 CARACAS 366 
     D. 06 CARACAS 486 
 
¶1. (SBU) Summary: The Government of the Bolivarian Republic 
of Venezuela (GBRV) continues to chip away at protection of 
intellectual property rights.  In 2008, the GBRV resurrected 
a 50 year old law disallowing the patenting of medicines and 
food.  Enforcement remains a problem as the police agency 
primarily responsible for IPR is defunct.  SAPI, the agency 
that oversees IPR and issues patents, has not issued a single 
patent since 2004.  Based on the GBRV's aversion to IPR, weak 
enforcement, and possible legal changes to further weaken IPR 
protections, Post recommends that Venezuela remain on the 
Special 301 Priority Watch List for 2009.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Weakened Legal Protection of IPR 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) Until Venezuela's April 2006 withdrawal from the 
Andean Community, Venezuela had incorporated over 650 legal 
decisions from the Andean Community into domestic law, 
including Decision 486, which provided the legal framework 
for patent and trademark protections.  In September 2008, 
SAPI, the Autonomous Intellectual Property Service (the 
country's primary IPR authority), announced in a press 
release that it had resurrected the Ley de Propriedad 
Industrial de 1955 (the 1955 law).  The 1955 law states that 
drinks, foodstuffs, drugs of any kind and other chemical 
reactions and combinations may not be patented. 
 
¶3. (SBU) Creative works are protected pursuant to the 
Copyright Law of 1993, Decision 351 of the Cartagena 
Agreement, the Bern Convention and the Universal Copyright 
Convention.  Venezuelan law protects the rights of authors of 
creative intellectual works.  Currently, copyright protection 
is valid for the life of the author, plus 60 years.  However, 
the pharmaceutical and recording industries continue to be 
concerned that Chavez may sign into law a copyright bill 
drafted in 2004.  The draft legislation would violate many of 
Venezuela's bilateral and multilateral IPR treaty 
obligations, reduce the protection period for copyrights from 
60 to 50 years and would allow the GBRV to appropriate 
artistic rights for the public sector.  Venezuela has also 
not deposited the instruments of ratification for the WIPO 
Copyright Treaty or the WIPO Performances and Phonograms 
Treaty, and has not sent an official delegation to WIPO 
committee meetings since 2004. 
 
¶4. (SBU) Trademarks are registered with SAPI, granted for ten 
years and may be renewed for successive ten-year periods. 
Trademark rights can be enforced through civil, 
administrative and criminal actions.  As a result of civil 
action, a registered trademark owner may be entitled to 
relief, which is at the discretion of the judge.  However, 
the registered trademark owner cannot prohibit a third party 
from using a trademark in connection with products that are 
provided by the trademark owner.  A trademark may be canceled 
at the request of any interested third party if it has not 
been used in Venezuela for three years. 
 
--------------------------- 
The Pharmaceutical Industry 
--------------------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) Eduardo Saman, the former Director of SAPI and 
current Director of the Venezuelan consumer protection 
agency, the Institute for the Defense of People's Access to 
Goods and Services (INDEPABIS), has argued that trademarks 
and patents hindering the fabrication of generic medicines or 
the reproduction of technology should be considered 
monopolies, which are prohibited under the Venezuelan 
constitution.  Despite his move to INDEPABIS, Saman continues 
to carry weight on IPR issues.  SAPI has not issued a patent 
for an imported pharmaceutical product since 2003, and has 
not issued a patent in any sector since 2004.  Since 2002, 
the GBRV has failed to protect pharmaceutical testing and 
other confidential data for product submissions that have not 
yet received patent protection.  As the GBRV does not link 
patents and sanitary registrations, counterfeiters can 
receive sanitary registration approval in the absence of a 
patent -- equivalent to marketing approval for a counterfeit 
product. 
 
--------------------------- 
 
CARACAS 00000271  002 OF 002 
 
 
Recorded Media and Software 
--------------------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) In 2004, the GBRV passed legislation that required 
the use of open source software throughout the public sector. 
 While not a violation of IPR in and of itself, the software 
industry has concerns about a lack of transparency in its 
implementation and favoritism shown to certain vendors.  The 
piracy rate for business software in 2008 was 87 percent, 
according to the Business Software Alliance.  The market for 
legitimate CDs and DVDs continues to decline.  As Venezuela 
imports a high number of virgin discs, the country may be a 
distribution source and a production center for counterfeit 
products.  The National Film Law, passed in August 2005, 
requires distributors to locally copy a percentage of the 
movies they distribute and to register all films, leading to 
unauthorized release of confidential information and piracy. 
 
------------------ 
Other IPR BARRIERS 
------------------ 
 
¶7. (SBU) Another barrier to IPR in Venezuela is foreign 
currency controls.  The Currency Exchange Administration 
(CADIVI), the agency that administers the GBRV's currency 
controls, may block access to foreign exchange for companies 
attempting to pay royalties, patent license fees, and 
franchise fees.  (To receive US dollars at the official 
exchange rate for transactions such as dividend repatriation 
and operating costs, a company must obtain CADIVI approval. 
There are no reliable figures for how much money US companies 
as a whole have requested from CADIVI.)  Post has received 
reports of CADIVI not acting on foreign currency exchange 
requests due to "improper paperwork".  While denial of 
currency requests may not be related to IPR enforcement, not 
acting on them prevents businesses from complying with IPR 
laws. 
 
--------------- 
IPR Enforcement 
--------------- 
 
¶8. (SBU) The enforcement situation in Venezuela remains the 
same as last year.  An ongoing lack of political will, 
lengthy legal processes, unprepared judges, and a lack of 
resources for investigation and prosecution create effective 
barriers to IPR enforcement.  A special prosecutor with one 
assistant is responsible for IPR issues in Venezuela and 
investigations are severely backlogged.  Under current 
Venezuelan law, IPR enforcement actions can only take place 
as a result of a complaint by the rights holder and the 
complainant is responsible for the storage cost of the 
illicit goods.  Furthermore, only violators operating at a 
fixed location are prosecutable, effectively barring 
prosecution of street vendors. 
 
¶9. (SBU) With its "zero tax evasion" and "zero contraband" 
programs, SENIAT, the customs and tax enforcement agency, has 
undertaken IPR enforcement.  Despite these efforts, SENIAT 
fired its lone IPR advocate in 2007.  Throughout 2008, 
however, SENIAT published reports that it had destroyed 
pirated goods.  COMANPI, the Venezuelan copyright and 
trademark enforcement branch of the police, is also charged 
with IPR enforcement and maintains a small staff of permanent 
investigators.  Local IPR contacts have said that COMANPI, an 
agency known for its lack of personnel, limited budget, and 
inadequate storage facilities for seized goods, no longer has 
a functioning headquarters. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶10. (SBU) The protection of intellectual property rights in 
Venezuela continues to deteriorate.  The legal regime is 
increasingly tenuous, with a reversion to a 1955 law covering 
medicinal and food patents in 2008.  Enforcement continues to 
remain weak and high ranking officials continue to express 
their disdain for IPR protection.  Few resources are 
dedicated to investigating and prosecuting IPR crimes.  Post 
recommends keeping Venezuela on the Special 301 Priority 
Watch List for 2009. 
GENNATIEMPO

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  1. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge



  2. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022



  4. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)



  6. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos



  7. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings



  8. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day



  9. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities



  10. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens



  11. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022



  13. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day



  14. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious



  15. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day



  16. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose



  17. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022



  19. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule



  20. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies



  21. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day



  22. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)



  23. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day



  24. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics



  25. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022



  27. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda



  28. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller



  29. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  30. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day


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