Protection period for Plant Varieties: Ecuador’s lack of compliance with community and international regulations

Edificio de cristal con el logo de CorralRosales más una foto de Andrea Miño, asociada de la firma

Intellectual property law protects plant varieties under the rights of the plant breeder, which grants legal protection to individuals or corporations that obtain a plant variety through plant breeding procedures. For this to be applicable, the plant variety must be new and adhere to the technical requirements of “distinction,uniformity, and stability” (DUS).

A plant breeder´s rightis a recognition by the State of individuals or corporations that have discovered or created a new plant variety; this new variety is then set out in a plant breeder certificate granting the plant breeder the exclusive right to use said plant variety for growth and cultivation during a fixed period. Once that period ends, the plant variety becomes public domain.

Provisions relating to the requirements of protection, rights, and limitations on new plant varieties are detailed in the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention, 1978). In the Andean Community, such regulations are set out in the Common Regime on the Protection of the Rights of Breeders of New Plant Varieties (Decision 345). Ecuador also has a specific legal body to govern such matters, which is the Organic Law of the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation and its corresponding Regulation.

The protection period granted depends mainly  on the group to which the plant variety belongs to.  To this end, two groups have been established: the first group includes vines, forest trees, and fruit trees (including their rootstock); and the second group includes all other species. The UPOV Convention, ratified by Ecuador in May 1997, provides that the protection of plant varieties is granted beginning on the date of approval and lasts at least  eighteen (18) years for species in the first group and fifteen (15) years for species in the second group.[1] Decision 345, meanwhile, grants protection for a period of twenty (20) to twenty-five (25) years for species in the first group and fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years for all other species. These terms are always counted from the date the plant variety is approved.[2]

Ecuador’s legislation has certain discrepancies relating to the type of protection and the time at which it is granted. Its Intellectual Property Law, which was repealed in 2016 but is applicable to all requests presented before this date, allows for a period of protection equal to that set out in the community regulation. However, it contradictorily determined that the protection granted would begin from the date plant variety is requested.[3] Current legislation corrected this error, providing protection from the date the right is granted. Nevertheless, the period itself is more restrictive, establishing eighteen (18) years for varieties in the first group, and fifteen (15) years for the second.[4]

To this effect, a plant breeder that protects a plant variety in the first group in Peru, Bolivia, or Colombia, will obtain a minimum protection of twenty (20) years for a variety belonging to the first group, while in Ecuador, the same variety will not be protected for more than eighteen (18) years, thereby contradicting the supranational regulation.

The Treaty Creating the Court of Justice of the Andean Community imposes upon member states the obligation to adopt measures to enforce the laws in its legal system and the commitment to avoid adopting measures that are contradictory or that could create obstacles to its application.[5] The bylaws of said Court considers infringing conduct to be the enactment of internal norms that contradict the Andean legal system.[6]

For this reason, the provisions of the Organic Law of Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation, which contradict the community regulation, constitute an infringing conduct which could be considered lack of compliance by Ecuador. Consequently, the National Intellectual Rights Service should draft a bill to correct the aforementioned inconsistencies and send it to the National Assembly via Ecuador’s president for processing.

[1] International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Varieties, Article 8 Duration of Protection, 1962

[2] Common Provisions on the Protection of the Rights of Breeders of New Plant Varieties; Chapter IV, Registration, Article 21.  

[3] Intellectual Property Law, Book III, Section II, Registration Procedure, Article 268.)

[4] Organic Law of the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation, Title IV; Plant Varieties; Section V, Rights and limitations, Article 485.

[5] The Andean Community Treaty Creating the Court of Justice, Article 4.

[6] Bylaws of the Andean Community Justice Tribunal, article 107, second paragraph.

Andrea Miño
Associate at CorralRosales

Living wage 2021

Edificio de cristal con un montón de ventanas + el logo de CorralRosales

On March 18th, the Ministry of Labor – by Ministerial Agreement MDT-2021-087- set the living wage for 2021 and established the payment procedure.

  • Living wage

The value of the monthly living wage for 2021 was set at US$447.41.

  • Economic compensation calculation period

To calculate the economic compensation of the living wage, employer shall consider income received by the employee from January 1st to December 31st, 2021.

If employees worked for a shorter period than the aforementioned, calculation will be proportional to the time worked.

  • Procedure to calculate economic compensation

The economic compensation to which workers whose monthly income is not less than the living wage are entitled, is the difference between the living wage for the year 2021 and the monthly income that the worker received during 2021.

To calculate employee´s monthly income, the following amounts received during the calculation period must be added and divided by 12:

  • Salary
  • Thirteenth remuneration
  • Fourteenth remuneration
  • Commissions or incentives paid by the employer.
  • Profit sharing
  • Additional benefits paid in cash by the employer
  • Reserve funds

In the case of part-time employees, economic compensation will be calculated proportionally to the hours worked. The ordinary workday is 240 hours per month.

  • Payment deadline

The economic compensation shall be paid until March 31, 2022.

  • Registration before the Ministry of Labor

Once the employer registers the labor profit sharing form of year 2021, the Ministry of Labor’s platform will generate the payroll of the employees entitled to the economic compensation to reach the living wage.

Edmundo Ramos

Specialist in Labor Law
Edmundo Ramos, partner at CorralRosales
+593 2 2544144

Marta Villagómez

Specialist in Labor Law
Marta Villagómez, associate at  CorralRosales
+593 2 2544144

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NOTE: The above text has been prepared for informational purposes. CorralRosales is not responsible for any loss or damage caused as a consequence of acting or not acting on the basis of the information contained in this document. Any additional determined situation requires the specific opinion and concept of the firm in Quito / Guayaquil, Ecuador.


CorralRosales’ International Legal Alliance TAGLaw Named “Elite” by Chambers & Partners

logo de la alianza legal internacional de CorralRosales, TAGLaw, y logo del reconocimiento de Chambers & Partners

CorralRosales’ international legal alliance, TAGLaw®, has again been recognized by Chambers & Partners as “Elite” for 2022—the highest ranking awarded to legal networks and alliances. This is the ninth time TAGLaw has received the distinguished “Elite” designation since Chambers & Partners began ranking legal networks and alliances in 2013.

TAGLaw was also invited provide the introduction to this year’s rankings guide: “GLOBAL LAW FIRM NETWORKS: An Introduction to Global Market Leaders”. In the introduction, TAGLaw discusses the challenges faced by law firms in 2021 and what the future holds for firms, alliances, and networks. 

“We are honored to be named an “Elite” international legal network/alliance for the ninth year and to contribute our thoughts to the annual introduction for the third time.” said Richard Attisha, President & CEO of TAGLaw and TAG Alliances. “Over the years, Chambers & Partners has continually acknowledged both the reputation of our global alliance and our individual member firms and their lawyers. This prestigious recognition is truly a testament to the quality of our member firms, illustrated by their prominence in their local markets and by their ability to deliver outstanding client service.”

In selecting networks and alliances for their “Elite” status, Chambers & Partners pays particular attention to the quality of the member firms, their global reach, and the value that the alliance provides to its member firms. TAGLaw, with a global footprint in over 90 countries, has over 160 leading firms providing legal services to companies ranging from the Fortune 5000 and leading SMEs to high-net-worth individuals. More than 100 of TAGLaw’s member firms have received individual rankings and award recognitions from Chambers & Partners. With expertise in dozens of practice areas and countless industry sectors, TAGLaw offers a substantial capability to its members’ clients. This capability is expanded by TAGLaw’s unique relationship with its sister alliances of accounting firms (TIAG®) and strategic partners (TAG-SP®), which together provide exceptional multidisciplinary service and a competitive advantage to businesses that cross geographical borders. 

About TAG Alliances®

TAG Alliances is comprised of three divisions: TAGLaw®, TIAG® (The International Accounting Group), and TAG-SP®. TAGLaw is an international alliance of more than 160 independent law firms. TIAG is an international alliance of more than 115 independent accounting firms. TAG-SP is a complementary association of strategic business partners. Collectively, TAG Alliances members provide legal, accounting, financial and business support services on a worldwide scale. With approximately 17,000 professionals in over 290 member firms, and more than 750 offices in over 105 countries, members of the TAG Alliances serve tens of thousands of clients from all industry and commercial sectors. TAG Alliances is consistently recognized as one of the Top 10 alliances of accounting & legal alliances in the world.

Learn more at

Ecuador: The National Intellectual Rights Service recognizes as a possible act of unfair competition the attempt to register a trademark identical to another that is already on the market

Ecuador: El Servicio Nacional de Derechos Intelectuales reconoce como un posible acto de competencia desleal pretender el registro de una marca idéntica a otra que ya está en el mercado.

The National Intellectual Rights Service (hereinafter, “SENADI”), when deciding an opposition against the application for the mark DASH in class 11, considered that the applied-for mark was unregistrable since there was a risk of confusion for consumers due to the prior existence of the opposing party’s trademark DASH in Class 09.

SENADI also considered that attempting to register a mark identical to another that is already on the market could be considered an act of unfair competition. This argument is usually rejected in most cases, so its acceptance in in this case is a rare event and undoubtedly will serve as a reference for future cases.


On November 19, 2019, a natural person applied for the mark “DASH” intended to protect goods in international class No. 11, specifically: “Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes [1].

PA-CO COMERCIAL E INDUSTRIAL S.A. filed an opposition based on trademark “DASH”, to protect the following goods in Class 09: “scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, control (inspection), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; Apparatus for conducting, distributing, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission, reproduction of sound or images; magnetic record carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for prepaid apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire extinguishers.” The opposing party also argued the applicant’s unfair competition.

On July 10, 2020, the applicant answered the opposition, which was added to the file on January 31, 2022. 

Case resolution:

Through Resolution No. 2000009, issued on February 15, 2022, SENADI accepted the opposition filed, rejecting the registration of the applied-for mark. In the aforementioned resolution, SENADI considered that that the conflicting marks were identical as well as acknowledged the relationship between the conflicting classes. Therefore, it concluded that there was a risk of confusion or association for consumers, who could assume that the goods are related or have the same business origin.

Regarding the registrability of trademarks, Decision 486 of the Andean Community establishes that:

“Those signs whose use in commerce unduly affects a third party’s right may not be registered as trademarks, in particular when:

a) are identical or similar to a trademark previously applied for registration or registered by a third party, for the same products or services, or for products or services in respect of which the use of the trademark may cause a risk of confusion or association[2]; (…)”

When deciding the opposition, SENADI ruled on the argument of unfair competition -an uncommon fact – in the following terms:

Given the above, it could be considered as an act of unfair competition, the fact that it is intended to register a mark that is identical to a trademark that is in the market, generating confusion among consumers, which is precisely what intellectual property should avoid.”

In this regard, Decision 486 of the Andean Community rules that:

“When the competent national office has reasonable indications that allow it to infer that a registration had been filed to perpetrate, facilitate, or consolidate an act of unfair competition, it may deny said registration.[3]; (…)”

With this decision, SENADI has taken a very positive step in the analysis of intellectual property matters, leaving aside purely formal aspects, by analyzing complex situations, protecting not only trademarks owners but also consumers.

[1] Proceeding No. SENADI-2019-82640.

[2] Article 136 of the Decision 486 of the Andean Community.

[3] Article 137 of the Decision 486 of the Andean Community.

Katherine González
Associate at CorralRosales