For scholars, professionals and people interested in intellectual property it is important to take into account the historical frame in which intellectual property has developed and the transcendental impact that the creation of the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property – ASIPI has had in the American continent.
The regulation and institutionalization of intellectual property goes back to the 15th century in Europe and its expansion to America only took place at the end of the 18th century and through the 19th century. Legislations related to patents were the first ones to appear, then the ones concerning trademarks and since then intellectual property has accompanied the economic, social and technological development which has taken place all over the world.
In 1883 the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property was subscribed with the participation of three American countries (today, all of the countries of the continent are signatories thereof). The Paris Convention has encouraged the emergence of different international public organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO, which administers the Paris Convention, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties – UPOVand the World Trade Organization – WTO, responsible for the “Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights”, TRIPS Agreement.
There are several private international organisms dealing with intellectual property matters, close to 200 nowadays, including those which are multilateral and regional. The oldest one of these is the “International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property”, founded in 1897. As of the second half of the 20th century different intellectual property regional organisms started being created, being the Union of European Practitioners in Intellectual Property, founded in 1961 the oldest one.
At the end of the 80s major changes and transformations in intellectual property matters were conceived not only in the different countries but globally as a result of multilateral commercial negotiations, like the Uruguay Round of the GATT and the TRIPS Agreement, which is a fundamental milestone in the evolution of the world intellectual property regime.
In the American continent, Mexico leads these changes particularly due to the commercial agreement with the United States and Canada (NAFTA) and then there are other countries like Argentina, Chile and Brazil. On the other hand, the Andean countries, in the frame of the Andean Community of Nations, issued Decisions 344, 345, 351 and 486 which contain the common regime for the protection of intellectual property.
An Organizing Committee of the Inter-American Association for Intellectual Property – ASIPI, following an initiative of American scholars convened an international meeting of 25 experts coming from 17 countries which gathered in Acapulco on April 11, 1964 and then, in the Convention which was held in Mexico City on April 14th and 15th of the same year, ASIPI was founded.
ASIPI is the first intellectual property regional organism in the American continent and one of the pioneer organizations worldwide in the regional sphere and since its creation, ASIPI has had presence and international recognition as a representative intellectual property organism in the Americas.
Before 1964 there did not exist an Inter-American institutional framework which would meet the needs, interests and concerns of the specialists. The impact of ASIPI’s creation was such that in the first congress held in Buenos Aires, one year later, 122 delegates of 16 countries were gathered and today ASIPI has more than one thousand five hundred affiliates belonging to all of the American countries and other regions like Europe, Asia and Africa.
Since its creation until today, ASIPI, through the actions of its different Executive Committees, Work Committees and meetings held throughout the region, has been involved in the positive and accelerated evolution that intellectual property has had worldwide, answering effectively and responsibly to the emerging challenges and perspectives and playing a prominent role as platform for the economic, social and legal development of our countries.
ASIPI, as an Inter-American regional organism, is an observing member of the World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO (http://www.wipo.int/members/es/organizations.jsp?type=NGO_INT) and actively participates in other international forums like the World Trade Organization – WTO and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers- ICANN.