PERU: An introduction to Peru
Contributor: BARLAW – Barrera & Asociados
On March 6th, 2020, we were informed of the first case of COVID-19 in Lima, the economic capital of Peru, and a week later, the government ordered a National State of Emergency including several social and economic measures to stop the spreading of this mortal virus, changing our daily life, in all its areas. From March 15th TOTAL lockdown was ordered.
Through Supreme Decree No. 080-2020-PCM of May 2nd, 2020, the “Resumption of Activities” was approved; this Decree establishes a four-phase economic reactivation plan, which is under constant evaluation by the National Health Authority, declaring the gradual reactivation of the Peruvian market with sanitary responsibility.
The first phase began in May with the resumption of 27 economic activities related to the sectors of mining, industry, construction, services, consumption and commerce. The second phase began in June, where another 28 economic activities in the manufacturing, commerce and services sector, including large shopping centres, beauty salons, and manufacturing factories, among others, have restarted work.
The third phase began in July that reactivated around 60 commercial activities, which includes passenger transport services by air, lodging, moving services, restaurants with a capacity of 40%, stores with a capacity of 50%, photography services, museums and cultural centres, tourism agencies, and call centres with a capacity of 50%, among others. To date, the economic sectors have been reactivated to 96% of their totality.
The economic reactivation plan was accompanied by the "Reactiva Perú" programme, which granted loans to companies for a total of 30 billion soles to pay their workers and suppliers, in order to avoid a greater impact on the labour market.
Added to this was the granting of subsidies to companies of 35% of the payroll of workers with incomes less than S/. 1,500.00, and the decrease in taxes paid by companies to the Tax Authority.
The government took care of the population by providing subsidies and food baskets to families living in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty and people who work informally/independently. For their part, people with a formal job were given the option of withdrawing their savings from their service compensation deposits and their pension funds.
Despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, the Peruvian economy remained strong due to the large group of entrepreneurs and companies that did not allow themselves to be defeated and, on the contrary, saw in the crisis an opportunity for change and improvement. As an example of this, we can notice the new businesses of sales via the web of all kinds of products and services, from groceries and basic necessities to educational courses or bank loans during the pandemic crisis.
Analysts from the FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast LatinFocus have indicated that the Peruvian economy will decline 11.7% due to the pandemic but next year and 2022 it will lead economic growth in the region.
The quarantine restricted the movement of people, but work and studies never stopped. The economy, the labour market and technology are related more than ever in our country, and that is the reason why the obligation for public entities to convert their administrative procedures to digital platforms and services is now a national public policy.
The digital transformation of the government promotes the formalisation of companies and people, in quick and simple processes by non-face-to-face digital procedures. With the digitisation of public processes, competitiveness and the country's position in international rankings will improve.
It is important to mention that according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) published jointly by WIPO, Cornell University, INSEAD and specialised partners, Peru ranks 76th among the 131 economies, and 9th among the 18 economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, we may add that Peru performs better in innovation inputs than innovation outputs in 2020.
The pandemic crisis accelerated technological innovation in companies and the government itself. In Peru, we are in the process of implementing a digital, transparent and efficient government that is close to the people so the government has to continue to lead the digitisation of public processes and economic recovery process while the private sector reactivates; however, we must be careful with political factors.
In 2021, Peru will have general elections to elect the president of the Republic, two vice presidents of the same, 130 member of Congress of the Republic and 5 Andean parliamentarians for the government period 2021–2026.
Due to recent legislation amendments, the immediate reelection of authorities is prohibited, so all political groups with presidential or parliamentary aspirations must present new candidates, and naturally the electoral campaign has to be digital with the difficulties that this can cause.
The National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) has a fundamental role in the economy and society, as it is responsible for promoting a culture of fair and honest competition, safeguarding all forms of intellectual property.
A few weeks after the COVID-19 crisis began, INDECOPI made available channels of attention and digital services so that procedures continue to function normally. It should be noted that the entity's digitisation process had already been underway for a couple of years, so the pandemic accelerated the process, so now, all proceedings are 100% digitised. To date, the majority of INDECOPI members are still working remotely.
In this context, the following digital services stand out:
• The virtual reception desk in which the users can submit applications, briefs and/or documents through the web, entering the link: https://www.indecopi.gob.pe/envio-de-documentos
• The ‘Virtual Trademark Application’ that will allow you to start the process of obtaining a trademark so that entrepreneurs, businessmen and all interested parties can protect their trademarks, entering the link: https://servicio.indecopi.gob.pe/registroSolicitudes/index.seam?jsession=DSD
• The Virtual orientation of online trademarks that provide step-by-step guidance to those interested in registering their trademarks through https://www.indecopi.gob.pe/es/web/plataforma-marcas
• "Peruanizado" is a product classification free search engine created by INDECOPI and it is still available at https://servicio.indecopi.gob.pe/appNIZAWeb/
• The virtual service “Busca tu marca” that allows you to verify if a trademark has already been registered or if it looks like one that is already registered. You may enter to link https://enlinea.indecopi.gob.pe/buscatumarca
• The virtual trademark renewal that allows you to renew a registered trademark, automatically and fully digitised, in addition to obtaining a discount on the amount of the fee. This service is available at https://bit.ly/2UYZg0L
• The ‘Virtual Registry of Works in Copyright’ that will allow an author or owner of a work to register the creations in a simple way through https://www.indecopi.gob.pe/tc-registro-obras
• The Patent Finder that allows users to verify information available on patents and other forms of protection registered in Peru, as well as review the status of a registration application pending before the INDECOPI. This tool can be found at https://bit.ly/348ckFd
• The electronic platform ePCT that allows national applicants to file and manage patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This platform is available at https://bit.ly/347pNgA
• The UPOV Prisma System for Plant Varieties that allows national applicants file applications for plant breeders' rights in the different offices of the member countries of the International Union for the Protection of the Plant Variety (UPOV). This platform is available at https://bit.ly/2xHjjss
• The Identi-Pat tool that allows users to identify patentable matters in a referential way. This tool is very useful and can be visited at https://bit.ly/3aH1TLi
• Virtual oral hearings, inspections and conciliation hearings in legal proceedings have been promoted by INDECOPI using digital platforms.
Through all the year, INDECOPI has organised several sessions and specialised training on intellectual property. The sessions and training are aimed at entrepreneurs, companies, academic institutions, research entities, business associations, public organisations and also students, researchers, teachers, authorities, legal professionals, and technical professionals that have an interest in developing knowledge or skills on patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Also, in June, the on-site orientation service for users was reactivated, as well as the on-site reception desk, following the sanitary protocols, in order to expand the scope of its services and avoid neglecting users who may not be familiar with its virtual systems.
Additionally, law enforcement officials such as public prosecutors, judges and police specialised in intellectual property and the Tax and Customs National Administration (SUNAT) also have been playing an important role in the defence of IP rights during the pandemic.
With respect to brand protection, anticounterfeiting and piracy, law enforcement officials have been actively defending intellectual property rights by conducting raids, seizures, and inspections of suspected and infringing merchandise, even though we were in lockdown. First, the cases were focused on pharmaceutical, healthcare, sanitary and personal care products due to the increase of sale of those products in the illegal market. Then, once the reactivation of the economy started, law enforcement extended the actions to all type of products to keep the protection and defence of IP rights in Peru. Also, prosecutors and judges have continued with investigations and judicial cases, respectively. As in the case of INDECOPI, all cases have turned to digitalisation and also hearings are conducted using digital platforms.
Finally, it is important to mention that the National Commission for the Fight against Anticounterfeiting, Piracy and Contraband, which is part of the Secretary of Production (PRODUCE), whose members are public and private entities, has been conducting virtual training seminars in intellectual property for law enforcement officials in more than 20 cities and ports in Peru. This training helps government officials to better understand IP rights protection.
INDECOPI and the other government entities (judges, prosecutors, police, customs) did not stop working in the area of intellectual property and made available the aforementioned tools and others that have been key for users to continue working. In times of pandemic, where the world stopped, Peru and its intellectual property system released tools and platforms to continue surveillance of intellectual assets and continue investing in innovation, which we all know is crucial for the development of any country.