Miscellaneous  |  01/13/2022

Partnering to Optimize Intellectual Property Rights in Latin America

As part of the Smart IP for Latin America initiative, Director Reto M. Hilty signed a collaboration agreement with Argentina’s Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación on 27 October 2021. A similar agreement for Colombia is in preparation. The aim is to carry out joint studies in the field of intellectual property law, in particular on technology transfer. Local and regional development is to be promoted with a focus on disciplines and areas that promise positive social, ecological and productive effects.

Direktor Reto M. Hilty (r.) mit Staatsekretär Diego Hurtado
Director Reto M. Hilty (r.) with State Secretary Diego Hurtado
Reto M. Hilty in Buenos Aires, Argentinia
Reto M. Hilty in Buenos Aires, Argentinia
Members of the SIPLA team and of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación
Members of the SIPLA team and of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación

The SIPLA initiative is based on the idea that intellectual property protection can only bring sustainable benefits to an economy if local market and competitive conditions and the specific needs of the country concerned are considered. Free trade agreements concluded by countries in Latin America often take too little account of this, especially when contracting partners try to assert the interests of their own industries.

In the course of the collaborations, the aim is now to determine specifically which adjustments to the respective legal framework can actually help to promote technology transfer and local innovation. This also includes sufficient flexibility in the digital context, for example in the form of specific exemption regulations that allow text and data mining in the context of artificial intelligence.

The collaboration partners plan to publish their findings in a variety of formats, such as short publications on timely topics, interim reports on strategic issues, and more comprehensive edited volumes. Among other activities, the researchers will exchange ideas in workshops and seminars and also organize events to inform the public about results.

Development of Intellectual Property Law in Latin America

In the opening chapter of a recent anthology in memory of Brazilian legal scholar Denis Borges Barbosa, the SIPLA team traces the development of intellectual property law in Latin America and provides an outlook on what opportunities these countries can take advantage of to promote their economic development. In particular, national legislatures can make targeted use of the leeway left to them by international law.

The researchers conclude that countries in the region have the potential not only to overcome existing challenges, but also to contribute to solving global problems in specific sectors through their own innovation.


Smart IP for Latin America is a research initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition. It provides a neutral forum for academic and legal policy discourse on intellectual property and competition law in Latin America. It aims to inform and advise academia, policymakers, the business sector and the public on the basis of impartial and evidence-based fundamental research. The goal is to support the realization of Latin America’s social, cultural, and economic potential.

Smart IP for Latin America was launched in 2018 at an inaugural conference in Santiago de Chile, attended by representatives from academia, government, industry, and legal practice. An office at the University of Buenos Aires – the “Observatory” – has been coordinating research activities and events on site in close cooperation with the SIPLA team at the Institute in Munich since 2019. The team is supported by a top-class advisory board with scientific representatives from all over Latin America.