Panama, November 1, 2019.
Morgan & Morgan advised Avianca Holdings, S.A., a company incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Panama (the “Company”), in launch and consummation of an exchange offer of the Company’s previously issued US$550,000,000 8.375% Senior Notes due 2020 for newly issued US$550,000,000 8.375% Senior Secured Notes Due 2020 (the “Exchange Notes”). The Exchange Notes will have terms that are identical in all material respects to the terms of the Existing Notes, except that, among other differences, (1) the Exchange Notes will be issued by the Company and will be guaranteed by Avianca Leasing, LLC and Grupo Taca Holdings Limited (“Taca”), which were co-issuers of the previous notes, and will additionally be guaranteed by Avianca Ecuador S.A., Tampa Cargo S.A.S., Aviateca, S.A., Latin Logistics, LLC, International Trade Marks Agency Inc., and a newly created intermediate holding company (“Parent HoldCo”), which did not guarantee the previous notes, (2) the Exchange Notes will be secured by a pledge or assignment of (a) the AVIANCA brand and certain other intellectual property registered in different jurisdictions, including Panama, (b) certain unencumbered aircraft which are currently owned directly by or in trust for the benefit of Tampa Cargo S.A.S. or by Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A. – Avianca (“Aerovias”), and (c) the residual interest in substantially all aircraft which are owned and financed now or in the future by the Company and its subsidiaries, and (3) the Exchange Notes will automatically be exchanged (the “Mandatory Exchange”) for an equivalent principal amount of 9.00% Senior Secured Notes due 2023 (the “New Notes”) on December 31, 2019 upon the closing of an investment of not less than U.S.$250 million of new equity or convertible debt in Avianca Holdings from United Airlines, Inc. (“United”), Kingsland Holdings Limited (“Kingsland”) and one or more financial institutions, of which at least U.S.$200 million thereof will be made by United and Kingsland (the “Stakeholder Investment”) and the receipt of such funds on or prior to December 31, 2019.
BofA Securities, Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as the Dealer Managers of the Exchange Offer, with BofA Securities, Inc. acting as Global Coordinator of the Exchange Offer. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, acted as indenture trustee and collateral trustee, Citibank, N.A. acted as transfer agent, registrar and principal paying agent, and Cititrust Colombia S.A., Sociedad Fiduciaria, acted as Colombian collateral agent.
In the year 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated April 26 as World Intellectual Property Day. The purpose of this is to highlight the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.
Across the globe, and at the initiative of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there is a campaign every year to attract public interest to issues related to Intellectual Property. In 2019, the World IP Day Celebration takes the name “Reach for Gold: IP and Sports” and looks closely at the world of sports and how innovation, creativity and IP rights support the development of this industry around the globe.
Within the framework of this celebration, two activities will take place in our country. WIPO, the General Directorate of the Registry of Industrial Property (DIGERPI), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Patent and Trademark Office of the United States of America (USPTO), the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) and the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI) have prepared a sub-regional Seminar on the enforcement of Intellectual Property (IP) rights for the agencies responsible for enforcing said laws. This Seminar aims to promote the importance of monitoring intellectual property rights in the trade of goods.
On the other hand, the University of Panama organizes an initiative that consists of the creation of a space for academic, scientific and cultural innovation of great impact to develop the topic of IP and sports. This activity will be aimed at making the general public aware of the importance of Intellectual Property Law in trademark registration and how it promotes the development of different economic sectors.
Intellectual Property, tech and the legal sector
On January 31, 2019, WIPO published its first study on “technology trends”, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and where there is already a marked growth in the number of applications for patents related to the technology sector. It is a reality that there is already a great variety of products that will change our lifestyle, better to say, that they are already changing it, for example “bitcoins”, and the “internet of things” (IoT), where you can see a clear example of where the world is heading to in relation to mass consumption through technological means. All this leads us to suppose that, although the majority of patents in the world come from industrialized countries, in Panama and in the rest of Latin America, we must be prepared for the demand for services that this sector could bring in the immediate future.
In the legal sector, the replacement of attorneys by artificial technology that provides “legal advice” is already a reality that aims to displace human intelligence with AI, but what is the result of these advances? We will have to wait and see, since the variables of a case cannot be considered by artificial intelligence, this without mentioning the emotional intelligence that should be key in any legal advice, especially in countries of our region.
Benefits of our IP legislation and situation with China
Our country has a highly developed legislation for the protection of Intellectual Rights in general, including trademarks, patents, industrial models, plant varieties and copyrights. Our laws allow the effective protection of intellectual rights by their legitimate owners and for their exclusive use.
Latin America is a very attractive market for producers in Asia (China, Japan and Korea), North America and Europe, whose products land in Latin American markets. Most of these products transit through the Panama Canal, Panamanian ports or the Colon Free Zone. Therefore, whether you plan to protect a brand, register it in Panama for later use in the country or region, or because Panama is the gateway to the rest of the emerging markets in Latin America, Panama should always be on the list of countries that register and use a brand.
In the special case of China, our country and the Asian giant held a fifth round of negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from April 24 to 26, 2019 in Beijing (China). This round consists of the chapters on financial services, market access and customs procedures. The Intellectual Property chapters were proposed and negotiated by Panama and they were already approved by both parties in the Fourth Round of negotiations in 2018. For this chapter, the negotiations made by Panama with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have been used as a basis; and the most important regarding the negotiation with China is that Panama fully complies with all the articles proposed in said negotiation and does not need to update its legislation which, in other words, is one of the most complete in the region, especially in matters of border protection against piracy.
Intellectual Property team of Morgan & Morgan is featured in The World´s Leading Trademark Professionals 2019
Enrique Jiménez, María Eugenia Brenes and Allen Candanedo, partner and associates of the Intellectual Property Department of Morgan & Morgan, have been featured in the 2019 edition of the ranking table World Trademark Review 1000 – The World´s Leading Trademark Professionals.
The publication, which focuses exclusively on trademark lawyers, has become the “definitive source of information” for those seeking first rate experience in the field. As in all its prior publications, this year the search was exhaustive to identify the outstanding firms and lawyers in this critical area. The factors influencing the classification are: years of experience, market presence, and level of day-to-day work, as well as feedback from colleagues and clients.
For more information please click here.
Enrique Jimenez and Maria Eugenia Brenes recognized in The World´s Leading Trademark Professionals 2018
The World´s Trademark Review, which focuses exclusively on trademark lawyers and trademark law, has become the “definitive source of information” for those seeking first rate experience in the field. As in all its prior publications, this year the search was exhaustive to identify the outstanding firms and lawyers in this critical area. The factors influencing the classification are: years of experience, market presence, and level of day-to-day work, as well as feedback from colleagues and clients.
To see the complete ranking please click here.
About Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan has one of the most complete Intellectual Property Departments in Panama. The firm advises clients in the filing and registration of trademarks, service marks, slogans, trade names, inventions, utility models, industrial designs and plant varieties under Industrial Property Law, among others. Our attorneys are specialists in the drafting and reviewing of License and Franchise Agreements, assisting clients in all the regulatory proceedings for registering such license agreements and franchises of trademarks before the Industrial Property and IP Directorates.
Morgan & Morgan represented Cooperativa de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos R.L., the largest dairy company in Costa Rica, in its acquisition of the milk and juice business in the Republic of Panama of Refrescos Nacionales, S.A. and Cervecería Nacional, S.A., subsidiaries of the brewer and bottler SABMiller. The transaction included the milk and juice plant in the province of Chiriquí and trademarks Nevada, La Chiricana and Tutti Frutti. The transaction was signed on January 18, 2013 and is subject to verification by Panama’s competition authority (Acodeco).
The firm’s team was led by partner Francisco Arias G. with the support of associate Gilbert Mallol, as well as partner Ricardo Lachman (labor), associate Allen Candanedo (intellectual property), associate Ana Cristina Castrellon (environment), associate Ana Carolina Castillo and associate Carlos Arturo Hoyos; and partner Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez is steering the process with Acodeco.
Morgan & Morgan representó a la Cooperativa de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos RL, la mayor empresa de lácteos en Costa Rica, en la adquisición de la empresa Refrescos Nacionales, SA y Cervecería Nacional, SA, ambas filiales de la cervecera y embotelladora SABMiller y dedicadas al negocio de leche y jugo en la República de Panamá. La transacción incluyó la planta de leche y jugos en la provincia de Chiriquí y las marcas Nevada, La Chiricana y Tutti Frutti. La transacción fue firmada el 18 de enero de 2013 y está sujeta a verificación por parte de la Autoridad de Protección al Consumidor y Defensa de la Competencia (ACODECO).
El equipo de la firma fue liderado por el socio Francisco Arias G., con el apoyo del asociado Gilbert Mallol, así como también con el apoyo del socio Ricardo Lachman (Derecho Laboral), el asociado Allen Candanedo (Propiedad Intelectual), la asociada Ana Cristina Castrellón (Derecho Ambiental), la asociada Ana Carolina Castillo, y el asociado Carlos Arturo Hoyos. El socio Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez está dirigiendo el proceso con ACODECO.
Intellectual Property law continues to develop progressively as the Belize Intellectual Property Office has issued its latest opposition ruling in the matter of British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited v. Philip Morris Products S.A.(Application No. 5754.08).
This matter dealt with an opposition lodged by British American Tobacco against a trademark application filed by Philip Morris on the issue of distinctiveness, and lack thereof. British American Tobacco argued that the Philip Morris mark in question contravened the Trade Marks Act, Chapter 257 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000, in particular section 35(1)(b) which states:
“The following shall not be registered… trademarks which are devoid of any distinctive character…Provided that, a trade mark shall not be refused registration by virtue of [section 35(1)(b)] if, before the date of application for registration, it has in fact acquired a distinctive character as a result of the use made of it.”
The Deputy Registrar of Belipo, upon hearing the submissions of counsel on behalf of both parties found that the Philip Morris mark was neither distinctive as it was incapable of distinguishing the goods to which it had applied, nor had it acquired distinctive use within the meaning of the Trade Marks Act.
BAT has not only conducted a successful opposition against Philip Morris, it has also achieved victory in defending an opposition brought against it by Philip Morris in the prior matter of Philip Morris Products S.A. v British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited (Application No.5082.07). A victory which was confirmed in the landmark judgment of Civil Appeal 1 of 2009, the very first trade mark opposition that was appealed to conclusion at the Belize Supreme Court with one of the last judgments issued by Belize’s former eminent Chief Justice Dr. Abdulai Conteh.
Morgan Belize, through Legal Counsel Rishi Alain Mungal, was pleased to represent its client, British American Tobacco at the opposition proceedings and assist with this successful decision.
A full text of British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited v. Philip Morris Products S.A.(Application No. 5754.08) is available here.
La Ley de Propiedad Intelectual continua desarrollándose progresivamente al momento en que la Oficina de Propiedad Intelectual de Belice emite su última sentencia de oposición en el caso de British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited vs. Philip Morris Products S.A. (Solicitud no. 5754.08).
Este asunto trata de una demanda de oposición presentada por British American Tobacco contra una solicitud de marca de fábrica presentada por Philip Morris concerniente al tema del carácter distintivo o falta del mismo. British American Tobacco argumentó que la marca de Philip Morris en cuestión iba contra la Ley de Marcas de Fábrica, Capítulo 257 de las Leyes de Belice, Versión Actualizada del 2000, en especial la sección 35(1)(b) la cual estipula:
“No deberá registrarse lo siguiente… marcas de fábrica que carezcan de un carácter distintivo… Siempre que, el registro de una marca de fábrica no se rechace en virtud de la [sección 35(1)(b)] si, previo a la fecha de solicitud de registro, ésta ha de hecho adquirido un carácter distintivo como resultado del uso que se hace de ella.”
El Sub Registrador de Propiedad Intelectual de Belice, al escuchar las presentaciones de los abogados en nombre de ambas partes encontró que la marca Philip Morris no era ni distintiva ya que no podía distinguir los artículos a los que había aplicado, ni había adquirido un uso distintivo dentro del significado de la Ley de Marcas de Fábrica.
BAT no solo llevó a cabo una oposición exitosa contra Philip Morris sino que también alcanzó la victoria en la defensa de una demanda de oposición presentada contra ella por Philip Morris en la acción anterior de Philip Morris Products S.A. vs. British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited (Solicitud no. 5082.07). Una victoria confirmada en una sentencia sin precedentes de la Apelación Civil 1 del 2009, la primera demanda de oposición de marca de fábrica apelada hasta su conclusión en la Corte Suprema de Belice, uno de cuyos últimos fallos fue emitido por el eminente ex Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Belice, Dr. Abdulai Conteh.
Morgan Belice a través de su asesor legal Rishi Alain Mungal se sintió complacida de representar a su cliente, British American Tobacco en el proceso de oposición y asistir en la exitosa decisión.
El texto completo de British American Tobacco (Brands) Limited vs. Philip Morris Products S.A. (Solicitud no. 5754.08) está disponible aquí.