Expanding operations into South American countries offers opportunities for US and Canadian software companies but requires a nuanced understanding of intellectual property (IP) regulations. Comprehending these requirements is vital to protect innovations and assets. This guide explores specific legislation, regulatory agencies, and differences compared to North American IP standards.

Covering copyright protection, software product or service patents, and trade secret regulations, this resource provides essential knowledge to navigate the IP landscape and ensure a successful expansion of operations into South /Latin America while safeguarding intellectual property assets.

North American Regulatory Framework for Software Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Landscape  for US Software Companies (Our Base for Comparison)

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

In the United States, securing intellectual property rights for software companies revolves around compliance with copyright and patent laws. Software, considered a literary work, is protected under copyright law administered by the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering software with the U.S. Copyright Office establishes ownership and unlocks specific benefits. 

Software patents can be obtained for specific technical elements defined by the U.S. Patent Act, overseen by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Confidential information is protected by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), which prevents unauthorized disclosure or use of trade secrets.

American IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in the U.S.

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What In the U.S., software is protected under copyright law as a literary work, ensuring exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the software. Software patents cover specific technical innovations or novel functionalities within software. Trade secret protection safeguards confidential information integral to a company’s success, such as algorithms or customer data.
Why Copyright protection establishes ownership and provides legal recourse against unauthorized use or replication of software. Patents grant exclusive rights, enabling companies to prevent others from using, making, or selling their patented software features. Securing trade secrets prevents unauthorized access or use by competitors, maintaining a competitive edge.
How Registering software with the U.S. Copyright Office grants official recognition of ownership and offers additional advantages in legal proceedings. Applicants file for software patents through USPTO, detailing the unique aspects and functionalities. Companies protect trade secrets by implementing strict internal controls, confidentiality agreements, and limited access protocols.
When Copyright protection begins automatically upon the creation of the software but formal registration enhances legal standing. Software patents must demonstrate novelty, utility, and non-obviousness at the time of application. Trade secret protection is ongoing as long as the information remains confidential and efforts are made to maintain its secrecy.
Where The U.S. Copyright Office oversees the registration process and maintains records of copyrighted materials. The USPTO handles patent applications and grants patents. The protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal contracts.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection by safeguarding their intellectual property rights. Innovators, companies, or inventors can apply for software patents to protect their technological advancements. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright vary but provide significant benefits and protections. Patent filing fees vary based on the complexity and nature of the patent sought. The cost of maintaining trade secrets involves implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards.

Intellectual Property Landscape for Canadian Software Companies (Our Base for Comparison)

Opentext Canada

Opentext Canada

In Canada, safeguarding intellectual property rights for software companies centers on compliance with the Copyright Act, which protects software as a literary work. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) oversees the registration process, providing legal recognition and advantages upon software registration. 

Additionally, Canada’s Patent Act offers avenues for securing software patents through application with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, delineating unique technical elements. The safeguarding of confidential information is fortified through mechanisms within the Trade-marks Act and contractual agreements, ensuring trade secrets remain shielded from unauthorized disclosure or use.

Canadian IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Canada

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Software in Canada is protected under the Copyright Act, granting exclusive rights for reproduction, distribution, and display. Canadian patent laws enable software patents for distinct technical innovations or functionalities within software. Confidential information, pivotal for a company’s success, is protected under contractual agreements and mechanisms within the Trade-marks Act.
Why Copyright protection assures ownership and legal recourse against unauthorized software use or duplication. Patents confer exclusive rights, empowering companies to prevent unauthorized usage or commercialization of patented software features. Safeguarding trade secrets prevents unauthorized access or utilization by competitors, preserving a competitive edge.
How Registering software with CIPO establishes official ownership and bestows legal advantages. Applicants apply for software patents through CIPO, detailing unique aspects and functionalities. Companies secure trade secrets via strict internal controls, confidentiality agreements, and limited access protocols.
When Copyright protection initiates upon software creation, while formal registration solidifies legal standing. Software patents must demonstrate novelty, utility, and non-obviousness at the time of application. Trade secret protection endures as long as the information remains confidential, maintained through dedicated efforts to sustain its secrecy.
Where CIPO administers the registration process and maintains records. CIPO manages patent applications and grants patents. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal framework and through legal contracts.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection by preserving their intellectual property rights. Innovators, companies, or inventors can apply for software patents to protect technological advancements. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright in Canada vary but offer substantial benefits and protections. Patent filing fees in Canada fluctuate based on the complexity and nature of the patent sought. The cost of maintaining trade secrets in Canada involves implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards.

How do Latin American Countries Regulate IP?

Intellectual Property in Argentina: Regulations and Legal Framework

La Matanza Buenos Aires Technology Center

La Matanza Buenos Aires Technology Center

In Argentina, the preservation of intellectual property rights for software companies involves considerations such as copyright registration and legal provisions stipulated by Law No. 11,723. While copyright registration with the National Copyright Office (DNDA – Dirección Nacional de Derecho de Autor) isn’t mandatory, it’s advisable to establish evidence of ownership.

Argentinian IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Argentina

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Intellectual property protection in Argentina encompasses software under Law No. 11,723, which primarily covers copyright. Software patents are generally unavailable in Argentina, although certain software aspects may find protection under Law No. 24,481. Trade secret protection is available for safeguarding confidential information.
Why Copyright protection secures ownership and provides legal recourse against unauthorized software use or duplication. While software patents might not be broadly accessible, specific software elements can be protected under distinct legislation. Trade Secret protection prevents unauthorized access or utilization of proprietary information.
How Registration with DNDA serves to establish evidence of ownership, although not mandatory. Protection for certain software aspects is available under Law No. 24,481, offering limited patent-like safeguards. Companies secure trade secrets by implementing confidentiality measures and legal protocols.
When Protection initiates upon software creation, but registration bolsters legal standing. Protection under this law applies to specific software elements meeting criteria outlined within Law No. 24,481. Ongoing protection is maintained as long as the information remains confidential.
Where The DNDA manages copyright registration and oversight. Law No. 24,481 provides provisions for protecting certain software elements. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal means.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection by safeguarding their intellectual property rights. Innovators seeking specific protections for software aspects benefit from these provisions. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright in Argentina vary but provide significant benefits and protections. N/A Costs associated with maintaining trade secrets involve implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards.

 

Intellectual Property in Brazil: Regulations and Legal Framework

Florianópolis Technology Center

Florianópolis Technology Center

In Brazil, safeguarding intellectual property rights for software companies involves recommended copyright registration with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI – Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial) to establish ownership and provide evidence. 

Intellectual property protection is governed by copyright law (Law No. 9,610), encompassing software as a literary work. While software patents are generally unavailable, specific software aspects may find protection under Law No. 9,279. Additionally, trade secret protection shields confidential information, further securing intellectual assets.

IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Brazil

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Copyright protection for software in Brazil is established through recommended registration with INPI. Software primarily falls under copyright law (Law No. 9,610), ensuring legal recourse against unauthorized use. Software patents are generally unavailable in Brazil, although certain software aspects may find limited protection under Law No. 9,279. Trade secret protection in Brazil ensures the confidentiality of proprietary information integral to a company’s success.
Why Copyright registration secures ownership, providing evidence and legal standing. It safeguards software against unauthorized replication or utilization. While software patents might not be broadly accessible, specific software elements can be protected under distinct legislation, offering limited patent-like safeguards. Trade Secret protection prevents unauthorized access or utilization of confidential information, maintaining a competitive edge.
How Software creators register with INPI to establish copyright ownership, offering legal protection and exclusive rights over their creations. Protection for certain software aspects is available under Law No. 9,279, allowing innovators to secure limited protection for their unique software features. Companies implement confidentiality measures and legal protocols to secure trade secrets.
When Protection begins upon copyright registration, fortifying ownership and providing legal evidence of software creation. Protection under this law applies to specific software elements meeting the outlined criteria within Law No. 9,279. Ongoing trade secret protection is maintained as long as the information remains confidential and companies enforce appropriate confidentiality measures.
Where Copyright registration and oversight are managed within INPI, providing legal authority and protection for software creators. Law No. 9,279 provides provisions for protecting certain software aspects, offering specific legal protections. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal means, ensuring stringent confidentiality.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection, safeguarding their intellectual property rights. Innovators seeking protection for unique software features benefit from these limited patent-like safeguards. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of vital data.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright vary, providing significant benefits and protections. Costs or fees associated with securing protection under Law No. 9,279 may vary based on the complexity of the software features and patent application process. Costs associated with maintaining trade secrets involve implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards, essential for protecting confidential information.

 

Intellectual Property in Chile: Regulations and Legal Framework

Chilecon Valley

Chilecon Valley

In Chile, software registration with the National Copyright Office (DNDA – Dirección Nacional del Derecho de Autor) establishes ownership, while patents under Law No. 19,039 protect certain technical aspects of software. Intellectual property protection is primarily through copyright law (Law No. 17,336), extending to software as a literary work. Furthermore, trade secret protection fortifies the security of confidential information.

IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Chile

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Software in Chile can be registered with the  DNDA to establish ownership and copyright protection. Software is considered a literary work under copyright law (Law No. 17,336), securing exclusive rights for creators. Patents are available for certain technical aspects of software under Law No. 19,039, allowing protection for specific software functionalities. Trade secret protection ensures the confidentiality of proprietary information integral to a company’s success, safeguarding it from unauthorized use or access.
Why Copyright registration ensures ownership and provides legal recourse against unauthorized use or replication of software, safeguarding creators’ intellectual property rights. Patents grant exclusive rights, enabling creators to prevent others from using, making, or selling their patented software features. Trade secret protection prevents unauthorized access or utilization of confidential information, maintaining a competitive edge.
How Registering software with DNDA validates ownership and grants creators exclusive rights over their software, protecting it from unauthorized use or reproduction. Companies apply for patents under Law No. 19,039, detailing unique technical aspects or functionalities of their software. Companies implement confidentiality measures and legal protocols to secure trade secrets, safeguarding proprietary information.
When Protection begins upon software registration, fortifying ownership and legal evidence of creation. Protection applies to specific technical aspects meeting the criteria outlined within Law No. 19,039. Ongoing trade secret protection is maintained as long as the information remains confidential and companies enforce appropriate confidentiality measures.
Where Copyright registration and oversight are managed within DNDA, providing legal authority and protection for software creators. Law No. 19,039 provides provisions for patenting specific technical aspects of software, offering legal protections. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal means, ensuring stringent confidentiality.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection, securing their intellectual property rights. Innovators seeking protection for distinct technical features within their software benefit from patent provisions. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of vital data.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright in Chile vary but provide significant benefits and protections. Costs associated with patent applications under Law No. 19,039 may vary based on the nature and complexity of the software functionalities being patented. Costs associated with maintaining trade secrets involve implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards, essential for protecting confidential information.

Intellectual Property in Colombia: Regulations and Legal Framework 

Colombia Technology Center

Colombia Technology Center

In Colombia, registering software with the Copyright Office (DNDA – Dirección Nacional de Derechos de Autor) solidifies ownership. Intellectual property protection revolves around Law No. 23,962, covering copyright. Software patents are accessible for specific technical aspects under Decision 486 of the Andean Community, while trade secret protection safeguards confidential information.

IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Colombia

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Copyright protection in Colombia involves registering software with the DNDA to establish ownership and copyright protection. Software falls under copyright law (Law No. 23,962), securing exclusive rights for creators. Software patents are accessible for specific technical aspects under Decision 486 of the Andean Community, allowing protection for particular software functionalities. Trade secret protection ensures the confidentiality of proprietary information integral to a company’s success, safeguarding it from unauthorized use or access.
Why Copyright registration secures ownership and provides legal recourse against unauthorized use or replication of software, safeguarding creators’ intellectual property rights. Patents grant exclusive rights, enabling creators to prevent others from using, making, or selling their patented software features. This protection prevents unauthorized access or utilization of confidential information, maintaining a competitive edge.
How Registering software with DNDA validates ownership and grants creators exclusive rights over their software, protecting it from unauthorized use or reproduction. Companies apply for patents under Decision 486 of the Andean Community, detailing unique technical aspects or functionalities of their software. Companies implement confidentiality measures and legal protocols to secure trade secrets, safeguarding proprietary information.
When Protection begins upon software registration, fortifying ownership and legal evidence of creation. Protection applies to specific technical aspects meeting the criteria outlined within Decision 486 of the Andean Community. Ongoing trade secret protection is maintained as long as the information remains confidential and companies enforce appropriate confidentiality measures.
Where Copyright registration and oversight are managed within DNDA, providing legal authority and protection for software creators. Decision 486 of the Andean Community provides provisions for patenting specific technical aspects of software, offering legal protections. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal means, ensuring stringent confidentiality.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection, securing their intellectual property rights. Innovators seeking protection for distinct technical features within their software benefit from patent provisions. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of vital data.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright in Colombia vary but provide significant benefits and protections. Costs associated with patent applications under Decision 486 may vary based on the nature and complexity of the software functionalities being patented. Costs associated with maintaining trade secrets involve implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards, essential for protecting confidential information.

Intellectual Property in Peru: Regulations and Legal Framework

Peru's Technological Science Park

Peru’s Technological Science Park

In Peru, software registration with the Defense of Competition and Intellectual Property Protection (INDECOPI – Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual) establishes ownership. Intellectual property protection is governed by Legislative Decree No. 822, encompassing copyright for software. While software patents are generally unavailable, certain software aspects may find protection under Decision 486 of the Andean Community. Trade secret protection further strengthens the confidentiality of proprietary information.

IP Regulations

Copyright Protection for Software

Software Patents in Peru

Trade Secret Protection for Confidential Information

What Copyright protection in Peru involves registering software with INDECOPI to establish ownership and copyright protection. Peru’s intellectual property framework is governed by Legislative Decree No. 822, safeguarding software under copyright laws. Software patents are generally unavailable in Peru, although certain software aspects may find limited protection under Decision 486 of the Andean Community. Trade secret protection ensures the confidentiality of proprietary information integral to a company’s success, safeguarding it from unauthorized use or access.
Why Copyright registration secures ownership and provides legal recourse against unauthorized use or replication of software, ensuring the preservation of creators’ intellectual property rights. While software patents might not be broadly accessible, specific software elements can be protected under distinct legislation, offering limited patent-like safeguards. This protection prevents unauthorized access or utilization of confidential information, maintaining a competitive edge.
How Registering software with INDECOPI validates ownership, granting creators exclusive rights over their software and protecting it from unauthorized use or reproduction. Protection for certain software aspects is available under Decision 486, allowing innovators to secure limited protection for unique software features. Companies implement confidentiality measures and legal protocols to secure trade secrets, safeguarding proprietary information.
When Protection begins upon software registration, fortifying ownership and legal evidence of creation. Protection under this law applies to specific software elements meeting the outlined criteria within Decision 486. Ongoing trade secret protection is maintained as long as the information remains confidential and companies enforce appropriate confidentiality measures.
Where Copyright registration and oversight are managed within INDECOPI, providing legal authority and protection for software creators. Decision 486 provides provisions for patenting specific software aspects, offering legal protections. Protection of trade secrets occurs within the company’s internal infrastructure and through legal means, ensuring stringent confidentiality.
Who Software creators and owners benefit from copyright protection, securing their intellectual property rights. Innovators seeking protection for distinct technical features within their software benefit from these limited patent-like safeguards. Companies and individuals holding proprietary information benefit from trade secret protection, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of vital data.
How Much Registration fees for software copyright in Peru vary but provide significant benefits and protections. Costs associated with patent applications under Decision 486 may vary based on the nature and complexity of the software functionalities being patented. Costs associated with maintaining trade secrets involve implementing robust security measures and legal safeguards, essential for protecting confidential information.

How We Can Help: Ubiminds’ Approach to Protecting Intellectual Property

When expanding to South American countries, US and Canadian companies should do the following compared to their home jurisdiction:

  • Familiarize themselves with the specific intellectual property laws and regulations of each country to ensure compliance and protection of their software creations.
  • Understand the differences in copyright registration processes, software patent availability, and trade secret protection in each South American country.
  • Seek legal counsel to navigate any nuances and ensure a smooth transition while safeguarding their intellectual property rights.

At Ubiminds, our business model revolves around ensuring robust protection and retention of intellectual property rights for companies venturing into South American markets. We guarantee that irrespective of the location of Ubiminders, your company retains complete control and ownership over all intellectual property assets. 

Our approach aligns with the clauses outlined in the contracts we provide, reflecting a commitment to safeguarding your proprietary information and innovations. Here’s how we ensure your intellectual property remains secure:

  • Exclusivity and Confidentiality: Ubiminds guarantees the confidentiality of your proprietary information and commits to not disclosing any collaboration-related information without your consent. Your ownership rights extend to all work created under our engagement, guaranteeing exclusive use and control.
  • Protection of Company Inventions: Any inventions, developments, technologies, or works created during our engagement are solely owned by your company. Ubiminds waives moral rights or retains rights only to prior inventions not integrated into the work.
  • Ownership of Work and Intellectual Property Rights: Ubiminds unconditionally transfers all rights, including patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and other intellectual property related to the work produced under our agreements, to your company. This transfer encompasses any creation, modification, or innovation generated during the collaboration, ensuring your full ownership.
  • Legal Assistance: We commit to providing comprehensive assistance in perfecting your company’s rights over the created work. Our team makes sure all required documents and actions are completed to help secure and maintain patents, copyrights, and other protections for your company’s inventions.

Our business framework and contracts protect your intellectual property, ensuring your innovative creations remain secure and under your ownership. Curious to learn more about how you can expand your international reach without compromising your assets? Reach out to Ubiminds in the form below. We’re happy to help.

Final Notes

Expanding operations to South American countries requires careful consideration of intellectual property requirements and restrictions for US and Canadian companies. Familiarizing yourself with the specific legislation, regulatory agencies, and variations compared to North American standards is essential to protect your company’s IP assets. 

By following copyright laws, exploring available software patents, and comprehending trade secret regulations, US and Canadian companies can expand into South America while protecting their intellectual property. Consulting local legal experts and regulatory bodies in your target countries is highly recommended. This ensures compliance with specific intellectual property (IP) requirements and helps navigate any complexities effectively.

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