Low oil prices and a strong US dollar have spelled trouble for Ecuador’s economy, which has entered into a recession that the International Monetary Fund expects will continue throughout 2017. Law firms – particularly those that focus on domestic clients – are thus experiencing reduced demand for their services. Disorganisation and instability in the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property (IEPI) are also causing problems: the introduction of an online filing system was poorly handled and physical filing was subsequently reinstated. In addition, sudden changes in pending opposition dates meant that lawyers had to deal with a flurry of unexpected deadlines. On a positive note, IP crimes are once more regulated by law after they were removed in 2014 by controversial amendments to the Criminal Code, putting brand owners and their representatives on a stronger footing in the anti-counterfeiting fight.
Julio C Guerrero B
The longest-serving boutique on the Ecuadorian market, Julio C Guerrero B has lately been broadening its horizons into additional areas of legal practice that complement its IP proficiency. Most notably, it has been expanding its regulatory know-how – much to the benefit of pharmaceutical players such as Takeda, for which it has been handling various trademark assignment matters. Another recent narrative is its increased investment in an already sophisticated software system, in particular to build in a logo searching function. Legal department director Johana Aguirre captains the litigation and enforcement division and is the main point of contact for prestigious brand owners such as Rolex and Harvard University. She is the current president of the Ecuadorian Association of Intellectual Property and is plugged into the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property; her advice is underpinned by a nuanced grasp of the main trends and developments both locally and regionally.
Source: World Trademark Review.