Manual seeks to enhance knowledge of intellectual property

Three judges and a prosecutor have put together a manual for their colleagues to bring them up to speed on intellectual property laws and procedures. The work was supported by the U.S. Embassy.

The free trade treaty with the United States required the country to pass a stiff intellectual property law. Many of the violations are obvious on the streets.

There vendors sell illegal copies of music and videos, much of it from multinational firms like Sony. The law also covers counterfeit clothing and other consumer products.

The authors are civil judges Álvaro Hernández and Guillermo Guilá, criminal judge Marjorie Álvarez and prosecutor Ronald Segura, said the Poder Judicial. The manual grew out of a seminar 18 months ago among legal
experts from Argentina, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and the United States.

The manual will be available to all the employees of the Poder Judicial. The manual contains five chapters, and even contains the relevant laws. The manual fills what officials feel is a gap in the knowledge of the judicial workers.

Violation of intellectual property laws, including trademark infringement is part of criminal activities that frequently involved illegal importation of materials, smuggling and tax fraud, said officials. However, at this time the Poder Judicial does not consider the operation to be handled by organized groups. Rather they are seen as crimes by independents, they said.

The intellectual property law is far-reaching and covers not only trademark infringement and counterfeiting of songs and videos but also copyright theft.

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