How does Venezuela receive World Intellectual Property Day
* Doctor of Laws, UCV – Member, CEDICE Academic Committee
The 2014 edition of the Property Rights Index was presented at the headquarters of CEDICE on October 28, 2014. The principal object of this Index is to evaluate the consistency of the property rights protection system across the world. The presentation got numerous reviews on Report No. 4 from the Property Rights Observatory. http://paisdepropietarios.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/PDF-Informe_4-Indice-Derechos-de-Propiedad.pdf).
During the presentation, Venezuela ranked last – 97th among 97 countries that were evaluated. In one of the three components: “Intellectual Property Rights”, Venezuela was ranked 96th. This component is comprised of three items: “protection of Intellectual Property Rights”, “patent protection”, and “copyright piracy”.
Given the deplorable situation in Venezuela with respect to all three items, it was not possible to expect any other result.
For example, regarding patent protection, the number of patents requested in Venezuela by companies or individuals in 2006 totaled 3,084. In 2012, the total number of patents filed was 1,622. This has been partly due the fact that for several years now, patents are not being authorized by the Autonomous Service of Intellectual Property (SAPI) (See: Fabiana Culshaw’s report, Economía y Negocios, April 26, 2013, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/en–caida-libre–solicitudes-de-patentes-en-venezu.aspx#ixzz3YYv0pIOw, accessed April 27, 2015).
On the other hand, piracy is the norm in Venezuela. This is a country where you can find many kiosks or stands at town squares or streets selling pirated movies, software, and music. There are even stores selling pirated products at shopping malls.
According to the 2004 official figures from the Subcommittee against Intellectual Property Crimes, which is attached to the Integrated National Service of Tax and Customs Administration (SENIAT), 85% of music records, 80% of books and movies, and 65% of the software sold were pirated (See: report from Daniel González Cappa, EL UNIVERSAL, March 3, 2013, http://www.eluniversal.com/vida/130303/pirateria-sin-control, accessed April 27, 2015).
Unofficially, piracy today represents more than 90% of national sales of music, literary, film, and software industries (See: report from Daniel González Capa, EL UNIVERSAL, March 3, 2013, cited above).
Unfortunately, it does not look like the situation is going to change in the short or medium term, and this will no doubt be reflected in the 2015 edition of the Index. To rank among the countries that occupy the lowest spots in the matter of protection of private property reveals a country does not have the slightest respect for individual rights and freedoms, because these cannot be fully exercised without the underlying material provided by private property. Simply put, without property there is not liberty.