Last week IP Tango drew my attention to some news from the South American continent that made me wonder whether the Bolivian government is being extremely strategic in its use of intellectual property, or not….
According to the item, Bolivia with the support of its president Evo Morales, have decided to start investing in the production of a new soft drink called “Coca-Colla Energy”. There are of course many discussions to be had around the inevitable accusations of trade mark infringements from Coca-Cola (even though it is difficult to see how Coca-Colla could really damage its better known sister)!
Whilst encouraging the local industry of a developing country is a good thing; coca is not going to sustain and feed the Bolivian population – and the Government wants to allocate 20,000 hectares to growing it! It is also highly likely that there will be reactions in relation to the narcotic issue. The International Narcotics Control Board has tried for years to ban coca leaf chewing, and could claim that the use of coca leaves in a different product should also be banned. However, it is interesting to see that Bolivia’s new constitution, drafted by the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, recognises coca as “cultural heritage, a natural and renewable resource of biodiversity in Bolivia and a factor of social cohesion” and thus not a narcotic in its natural state…
Whatever the merits of this particular product and its obvious stance against a giant of global capitalism, the proposal raises interesting issues about alternative ways of exploiting IP for development; even if it is not quite ‘the real thing’!
Spanish speakers might enjoy the humorous comments from Renzo Colanzi.
Post written by Francesca Re Manning, consultant to CAS-IP