Expanding IP Ecosystems: Peru Joins the IAP
September 11, 2020
WIPO and the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) launched the Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) in Peru. The program delivers support to under-resourced inventors to navigate the patent system, by matching them with a patent attorney or agent. These experts provide assistance to selected inventors at no cost. The IAP’s global network of volunteers provide patent drafting and prosecution services in each of the participating countries and in selected jurisdictions. Peru is the sixth country to participate in the IAP, joining the ranks of Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, the Philippines, and South Africa.
The launch celebrated Peru’s heritage of innovation and optimism for its continued development through the IAP. During the event speakers across three continents, shared their dreams for Peru’s innovation driven future. David Kappos, IAP Steering Committee Chair and Partner at Cravath, Swaine, & Moore told participants “great ideas are not isolated to any one country or any one income or wealth demographic.” He expressed enthusiasm for program’s start in Peru. He pointed out “the program is driving local demand for the patent system” in countries where the IAP has been established.
During the launch, Marco Alemán, Director of the Patent Law Division emphasized the motivation for the Inventor Assistance Program. “Many inventors spend their lives developing their ideas with great personal and economic effort, but unfortunately do not enjoy the necessary credibility to integrate with their peers on innovation activities.”
The IAP facilitates the democratization of innovation by “ensuring that the patent system is accessible to all.”
Putting the patent system in reach of all inventors, is what persuaded Peru to join the program. As INDECOPI Chairwoman, Hania Pérez de Cuellar put it, “our assistance to inventors consists on making available the full range of tools offered by the Intellectual Property system, and the launch of the IAP, is proof of that." Addressing Peruvian inventors, she added "Be sure that you can count on our commitment to accompany you on the journey of your creations to obtain the protection you require".
Peru’s entry into the program comes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of this unprecedented situation, innovation continues to flourish. This dynamic spurred INDECOPI and WIPO to push forward with the launch, in a virtual format. Corey Salsberg, Vice President, Global Head IP Affairs, Novartis and IAP Steering Committee Member found the step encouraging. “The fact you've been able to get your program ready and launch it in the middle of a global pandemic with all the challenges that that entails is proof positive that you're ready to write the IAP's next chapter.”
During the event, three successful Peruvian inventors shared their innovation journey. Rodrigo Coquis, CEO of Greentech Innovations SAC and inventor of fuel saving automotive technologies talked about why patent protection was critical to the success of his business. CEO of start up qAIRa, Mónica Abarca shared how the support she received from to secure patents was integral to enticing investors. Robert Tinoco, serial Peruvian inventor General Manager of Bioservice described his lifelong love of inventing led to developing an entire company. He told inventors: “Do not stop creating and inventing, do not give up on the journey of being an inventor regardless the difficulties.”
The IAP plugs into Peru’s already vibrant innovation ecosystem. Local IAP beneficiaries must be graduates of the PATENTA program. The PATENTA program gives inventors technical support to develop their inventions, aiming to help them develop their idea into something patentable. Once selected for the IAP, Peruvian inventors will get support of a local attorney to finalize their application and accompany them throughout the examination process. Inventors can also benefit from support from IAP volunteers with Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, including national phase application in Europe and the United States.
Pamela Casimiro Rivadeneira, a recent beneficiary of the PATENTA program described how valuable the IAP will be for local inventors. When she embarked on the patent process “there were many obstacles and difficulties.” She related having “to follow the patent process closely or it would be abandoned.” Ms. Rivadeneira was hopeful, that her challenges will “no longer be a problem” for many Peruvian inventors because of the help they will receive through the Inventor Assistance Program.
Messages from the Sponsors of the IAP
Today, 35% of national inventors who apply for patents in Peru abandon their applications. Many of these inventors give up on their applications before their inventions get examined on the merits. The help of a patent professional significantly improve the odds. Sergio Ellmann, Regional ambassador for Latin America for the International Chamber of Commerce, Intellectual Property Commission sees this clearly. During the event, he described the process of transforming an invention into a patent as “a crucial moment for the invention.” Mr. Ellmann highlighted the importance of inventors in the region having “access the experts who can draft their patent applications, understand the costs and the steps to follow.”
Unfortunately, many inventors cannot afford the services of these experts, which is why the Inventor Assistance Program was established. The IAP aims to level the playing field for inventors in participating countries by providing the necessary professional support. As Laurie Self, Vice President and Counsel for Government Affairs, Qualcomm, an IAP sponsor, added, “the IAP can create opportunities for women and minorities who are traditionally under-represented in the patent system.”
The IAP experience benefits more than just inventors. Patent professionals reap rewards as well. Carlos Olarte, Colombian IAP volunteer and founding partner at OlarteMoure said his work with the program is “a real, concrete opportunity for accompanying the inventor in different scenarios, not only in drafting and prosecution, but also with a little bit of coaching.” Part of his role involves making sure the patent “serves a useful function,” bringing value to the business. “It has been very rewarding for me,” he said. Volunteers gain an opportunity to connect to a global network of patent attorneys and agents. This both broadens the professional horizons and builds exposure to practices in other parts of the world.
The launch of the IAP positions inventors from Peru, together with those from Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, the Philippines, and South Africa, to transform their dreams into assets. By securing patents, they control the destiny of their invention, paving the way for contribution to their country’s innovation-led growth.
Want to learn more about the Inventor Assistance Program?
Visit the program’s website to learn more about how to apply as an inventor, become a volunteer or a sponsor of the program.