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"One of our goals is to include software with artificial intelligence and blockchain technology"
María Gabriela Campoverde Soto, assumed the general direction of the National Service of Intellectual Rights (Senadi) in June of this year, becoming the first woman to occupy the position in Ecuador. In this interview, she comments on the technological systems the institution is seeking to implement, the facilities that the institution provides entrepreneurs, the work carried out jointly with other institutions in Latin America and the concept of creative and cultural responsibility.
María Gabriela Campoverde Soto
Leaders League. How did you find Senadi?
María Gabriela Campoverde Soto. The institution had some technological issues that were pending. What we did in the first 60 days was a complete audit of which systems were being used and what were the backlogs of procedures in order to define priorities.
Our goals are to move to the IPAS system, which is the system managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, to include software with artificial intelligence for form examinations and blockchain technology for certain types of services. We already have an instruction on how the institution is going to incorporate encrypted information. What we want is to provide an excellent service to the user and strengthen the institutional framework of intellectual property in Ecuador.
What improvements have been made internally at Senadi to offer a more efficient service?
For the user we have made some additional applications such as accessing the phonetic trademark search engine on the website; many offices had it but we did not, you had to do a paid search. You can also access the resolutions of the national directorates or the collegiate body.
How did the pandemic affect intellectual property?
The pandemic changed the circumstance of many people, but entrepreneurship increased in an impressive way. When I arrived at Senadi I found that the authority could be more connected with the user. We started to implement virtual appointments with specialized officials, which have increased a lot, especially in entrepreneurship brands.
How does Senadi support micro-entrepreneurs' ventures?
We made some ebooks that have made our life easier, they contain step-by-step instructions on how to register your trademark or work and entrepreneurs who cannot afford a law firm can do it by themselves. We need users to feel that everyone is treated equally.
How is the work being co-ordinated with similar public institutions in other parts of Latin America?
We work monthly with the Andean Community and we have a very close relationship with the authorities in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. We have monthly work sessions in which we review regulatory projects and possible reforms to industrial design and appellations of origin.
We are also part of the IBEPI, which is the Ibero-American Program for Industrial Property and Promotion of Development, of which Ecuador will assume the presidency in 2022, and I should mention that we will be part of the Intellectual Property and Gender Network, formed by Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru.
What are the challenges of intellectual property regulation in Ecuador?
The law against smuggling and illicit trade came into force, which strengthened the issue of border measures. SENAE (Ecuador's national customs service) will be responsible for checking and identifying products that could infringe intellectual property rights, and we will support them. The challenge this year will be to unite technical capacities to combat illicit trade from the point of view of intellectual property.
What types of products and services you can see the greatest demand in Ecuador?
We have seen an interesting increase in class 5, which are sanitary products, and class 30, which has to do with food, given that there is a tendency to offer products with added value, such as healthy snacks. There was also an increase in class 35, which relates services, the class that has to do with business administration, consulting and advertising services.
On the occasion of this year's WIPO Assemblies, can you explain what is meant by creative and cultural responsibility?
We have incorporated this concept as public policy and that will be the invitation to the 192 countries during my speech at the WIPO Assemblies. We need our societies to question how many jobs are lost, not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of impetus and support for the industry. We need to encourage creative work to be recognized like any other. We need to turn the intangible, the unseen, into something tangible, concrete.
For Ecuador this is a priority issue, in which intellectual property plays a fundamental role as a tool for the benefit of the creative and cultural industry, allowing writers, painters and musicians, Ecuadorian talent, to reach the world.
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