World Intellectual Property Organization

Intellectual Property as a Key Element of Business Strategy - Calipso Software S.A.

Calipso Software S.A. is an Argentinian SME established in 1992 and which is devoted fundamentally to the development and marketing of software for enterprise management, supervision and development, and offers integrated solutions through the design and implementation of its products. The firm began its activities in 1984 obtaining its first standard in 1989 under the name SC Systems, and in 1992 its management decided to relaunch the enterprise with the new trademark: Calipso.

The firm’s strong growth in the past few years was translated into a significant increase in its turnover, which rose from 4.5 million pesos in 2000 to 5.5 million in 2001 and 7 million in 2002. Its exports also bore witness to strong growth, especially at the time of devaluation of the Argentinian peso towards the end of 2001. Consequently, about 80 people are currently employed in the enterprise’s operation more than half of whom are programmers.

Calipso has a large-scale presence in various areas in the interior of the country such as Rosario, Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe, the North East of Argentina, Mendoza, Tucumán and the Region of Patagonia, while it also exports its products to Latin American countries such as Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, as well as to Spain and the United States.

As one of the leaders in the local market in relation to the provision of mass invoicing systems, the firm’s clients include multinational companies such as Telecom, Telefónica of Argentina (Advance), Impsat and Comsat despite the fact that the subsidiaries of foreign companies are usually supplied with a single software provider at the global level, which makes access for local companies to this market difficult.

Towards 2001, Calipso began its activities in Uruguay by opening offices in Silicon Plaza a technology park grouping together software, telecommunications and Internet companies in the Montevideo free-trade area and seeking to take advantage of the tax benefits granted in the neighboring country. In this regard, the company signed an agreement with the Uruguayan firm Flex Systems for the marketing of its products and sought to incorporate enterprises from that country in its portfolio of clients. Similarly, export activities began for software produced in Argentina, from Uruguay to third countries.

As to intellectual property, it is important to emphasize that the firm’s management considers that the trademark was fundamental to establishing the firm’s name in the local market, strengthening the impact of advertising of its products.

Given the importance of its mark for the firm’s business strategy at that stage of its development, in 1994 Calipso brought legal proceedings when it discovered the use of the mark Calipso in the marketing of a competing product. The proceedings were concluded with an agreement relatively beneficial for Calipso, since the firm received compensation and the authorization to use the mark Calipso in the 32 countries in which the other firm sold its product.

In this process, the company recognizes having encountered difficulties, such as the shortage of trained trademarks specialists who advise firms appropriately with respect to the classes of marks in which they should be registered.

On the other hand, the enterprise registers its products through the system of copyright. In this connection, it has not encountered problems either as regards copies from competitors, or with respect to unauthorized use by clients, which can be foreseen considering that its field of activity is the development of corporate software, where piracy is relatively low owing to the constant need for updating and maintenance services.

Case taken from the WIPO publication:  "Intellectual Property and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: The Case of Argentina.  See the WIPO electronic bookshop.

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