Sello de Origen
Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Chile has a great variety of products, which have a reputation, characteristics or qualities that are mainly due to their geographical origin. Such products are strongly related to particular methods of production that find their origin in traditional processes of elaboration, transmitted from generation to generation and linked to rural communities which are often poor and distant from the big urban centers. Unfortunately, many of these traditions and crafts are being lost or their producers are facing difficulties in their marketing, particularly in the development of value chains, resulting in low prices, sometimes below their production costs and that do not reflect their cultural value. In addition, they are faced with competition amongst substitute products that sometimes imitate and copy them, industrially and at low cost, posing as if they actually came from those localities. Regrettably, along with the loss of ancestral traditions and the impact on the value chains, the production of these traditional Chilean products, with few exceptions, lack economies of scale. This situation prevents them from scaling up their products, access international markets and producers must resign themselves to selling in small quantities and almost exclusively in the national market. Throughout the country, we have detected a weak or null association between producers, who also do not have proper knowledge about the tools and benefits granted by industrial property, particularly appellations of origin and geographical indications, in order to strengthen the recognition and protection of their traditions. This is extremely relevant not only to avoid unfair competition, but also as a way to protect the consumers.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In order to face the problems described above, the "Seal of Origin" program was established, seeking to promote the creation, valorization, protection and promotion of Chilean products that enjoy a high local linkage. These products are identified, positioned and differentiated through their recognition as Geographical Indications (GIs), Appellations of Origin (AOs), Collective Marks or Certification Marks. Accordingly, the Seal of Origin program uses the tools provided by industrial property in order to contribute to the rescue of typical products and promote the conservation of traditions, especially from those towns with fewer resources that are far from urban centers, boosting entrepreneurship and the productive development of local communities. Along with the above mentioned, the Program seeks to stimulate associative work within the producing communities, so that they can have access to productive development instruments, generate economies of scale and define more uniform quality standards.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative solved the problems in different levels. Firstly, from a legal point of view, it made available to the beneficiary producers the legal instruments that Chilean law confers to all Industrial Property Rights (IPR) holders, whether trademarks, patents, designs, geographical indications, allowing them to exercise the correspondent criminal and / or civil actions in case of counterfeiting and unfair competition. For all these producers, and especially for the most vulnerable, these legal tools, due to their dissuasive nature, constitute an immediate gain. Secondly, the program increased their visibility and therefore opened new markets for these products. Nowadays, products with Seal of Origin have an additional showcase, which has allowed them to become known beyond their places of origin and has given them the opportunity to participate in national and international fairs and events, attracting the attention of local and foreign press. With different outcome levels, the interest for these products has been increasing, allowing that they can now be found in large supermarkets, both national and international, at a higher price. Thanks to these better perspectives we have been able to confirm that the new generations have become interested in the crafts and traditions of their parents and grandparents. In the third place, gathering information about the production methods and also the history and traditions associated with these products, has been of great importance since it has allowed rescuing forms of life and practices that are often transmitted only orally. Along with this, producers have learned to work together and strengthen their ties, improving their associativity. In fact, the agreement on the practices and knowledge incorporated in the technical reports and regulations on the use and control of GIs and AOs that the applicants (producers) must submit to the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI), has allowed them to jointly adopt production and quality standards. Finally, the Seal of Origin program currently is incorporating other public and private agencies, not only to support the marketing of products, but also to provide greater visibility to the place where they are produced, thus promoting new areas of tourism, with the final aim of increasing the knowledge and demand for these products.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In Chile until 2010, and because of lack of awareness, except for wines and spirits, Geographical Indications, Appellations of Origin, Certification Marks and Collective Marks were practically not used for the protection of traditional Chilean products. Thus, important tools provided by industrial property for the creation of intangible assets for the holders of these rights were being wasted. With this diagnosis, and given the relative ignorance of the citizenship on this matter, the establishment of the Seal of Origin program was decided, encompassing these four industrial property rights. In this way, the work began together with various organizations, both public and private, in order to promote products with Seal of Origin and publicize the benefits of having a Geographical Indication or an Appellation of Origin. Thus, among other things, a web site (www.sellodeorigen.cl) was developed, which would serve as a web showcase for all the Chilean products incorporated in the Seal of Origin program. In addition, the web site would be used to support the promotion of these products and boost the training of producers, offering their contact information, in order to increase the possibilities of commercialization.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The "Seal of Origin" initiative was implemented by INAPI, the public agency in charge of the administration of industrial property rights in Chile and also advisor to the President in matters of industrial property. INAPI has a staff of 180 officials, of which more than 50% are women. Before the implementation of this program, and leaving wines and spirits aside, Chile had only the geographical indication for "Limón de Pica" (Pica Lime), whose recognition was obtained in 2010. In the case of Limón de Pica, it was linked to a small oasis in the north of Chile with only 3,500 inhabitants and the register of the GI was granted to a cooperative of no more than 40 producers. Nowadays, after less than five years of Program, 24 industrial property rights associated with the Seal (between Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin, Collective Marks and Certification Marks) have been granted, directly benefiting more than 580 producers and indirectly 350,000 people, who are the inhabitants of the localities where products with Seal of Origin come from.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
International studies have shown that in Europe, Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin have been very successfully used by small producers to overcome problems related to value chains, giving them an alternative to boost their products. In addition, these studies show that consumers are willing to pay more when a product is recognized by having a quality or reputation associated with its origin. Based on this, during 2011 INAPI officials toured the country interviewing local authorities, producers, artisans and farmers in various areas, in order to identify products and set up a plan for the promotion and development of said products through their recognition as GI and AO. From this survey, the creation of the program called "Seal of Origin" (Sello de Origen) was proposed to the Ministry of Economy. The Program was launched by the President of Chile in late July 2012. As part of the strategy, it was decided to create a brand that included the concepts of GI, AO, collective and certification marks which were linked to a Chilean geographical territory, as it was considered that this would facilitate their positioning within the Chilean public, who were not familiar with these sophisticated concepts of intellectual property. During the years 2012 to 2014, with the support of the Undersecretary of Regional Development and the Ministry of Economy, INAPI worked directly with regional authorities in a first survey defining products which were typical of each region. Subsequently, a fund of CL $ 150,000,000 (US $ 230,000) was allocated for the preparation of the documents needed to apply for their registration, prioritizing two to three cases per region. This first exercise allowed the detection of more than 150 representative products of our country. As of February 2017, 24 traditional products of Chile were registered and another 9 have an application in process. Since 2012, the Transfer of Knowledge Division of INAPI, formed by seven professionals, has toured through the country promoting the use of the Seal. In this period, more than 23 workshops have been given to different producers, both from Santiago and other regions, reaching a total of 569 trained people, with an approximate cost of $ 5,567,365 (US $ 8,500). The program received a boost in September 2015, when President Michelle Bachelet launched, in the small town of La Ligua, the new image of the "Sello de Origen", intended to be used by all producers. The last stage of this project relates to the dissemination and promotion of registered GIs and AOs, both by encouraging the participation of products in national and international fairs and by presenting the Seal of Origin program in international fora such as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) and Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance). Finally, strategic alliances have also been made with new institutions, such as Fundación Imagen de Chile (the agency in charge of promoting the country abroad), with which a book was produced displaying the products of the Seal.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
This program, although designed by INAPI, was conceived from the outset as a collaborative project between different public and private agencies, as well as the producers’ organizations. Thus, in a first stage, regional governments played a relevant role in gathering information on the products that could be incorporated into the Program. The Undersecretary of Regional Development (SUBDERE) was then involved- in order to finance the necessary technical reports. At this same stage we had the fundamental support of the social entrepreneur Ms. Jeannette Von Wolfersdorff and Hacer Chile Foundation, presided over by Mr. Gonzalo Sánchez, who supported the poorer producers in the submission of different applications before INAPI. Once the program was officially launched by the President in 2012, its implementation and administration fell under the responsibility of INAPI, in coordination with the Ministry of Economy. Nowadays, the Program has been taking on a national importance, being supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Public Works, regional authorities (governors) and local authorities (mayors), Imagen de Chile Foundation and multiple NGOs and private law corporations.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Our program has taken on board the goals set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular gender equality, responsible consumption and reduction of inequalities. Thus, we have sought to promote sustainable agriculture, to support small producers and to help the empowerment of women. In fact, of the 24 products currently recognized with the Seal, it is possible to highlight the embroideries from Isla Negra, the Pottery from Quinchamalí, the Chamantos and Mantas Corraleras (Linens and ponchos) from Doñihue, in which all the beneficiaries are women. In this way, the Seal of Origin program rescues, highlights and values the action of women producers and artisans as agents that generate local development. As we said, the first Chilean product recognized with a geographical indication, was the Lime from Pica. The unique characteristics of this product, which is cultivated on an area of 66 hectares within an oasis in the middle of the desert, made possible that in 2016 this unique product was exported to gourmet markets as important as Madrid or London. And, as a sample of the impact and commercial success that this product has had since the granting of the Geographical Indication, the data provided by the Internal Revenue Service indicates that the Cooperative of producers has increased its sales by 15 times, in a period of only 6 years. Another case of success relates to the Appellation of Origin of the Salt from Cahuil, Boyeruca and Lo Valdivia. These are three localities of the region of O'Higgins, in the coast of the central area of Chile, that for generations have lived of the commercialization of the sea salt. Over time, prices began to fall and 50 kg of sea salt were being sold for only U$ 4, which was not even enough to cover the costs of its extraction. This caused a great economic depression in the area, which led many young people to abandon the traditional craft of their parents and grandparents. However, thanks to the Seal of Origin, in a few years the extraction of salt has revived as a business, allowing for the producers to have more optimistic commercial expectations and enhancing access for the producer's association to funds for building a processing plant. At present the product is recognized as gourmet and its value in the market has exponentially grown.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacle was related to the availability of economic and technical resources to develop the technical documentation required for the submission of applications. To solve this problem, an exclusive financing line was established for the "Seal of Origin" with funds provided by the Undersecretary for Regional Development (SUBDERE), which were used to hire expert advisors in some of the regions. Once these technical reports were properly elaborated, a second problem, related to the association capacity of the producers and their ability to design their own regulations of use and control, was evidenced. This point was solved in two ways. On the one hand, through the collaboration of private entities, such as Hacer Chile Foundation, who freely assumed the representation of some producers, grouping and supporting them with the drafting of said regulations. In this way it was possible to carry out the submission and registration of applications from areas with less resources. On the other hand, INAPI carried out important accompaniment and training activities in order to support the producers in drafting the documents that substantiated their applications. Even so, this lack of associativity among producers continues to be one of the main difficulties of the Program, reason why it has been necessary to continue and to reinforce the actions intended to promote the collaborative work.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
First, we believe that the main benefit for the population has been the protection of the country's national and cultural heritage, which until the implementation of the initiative was practically helpless, allowing illegitimate copies of traditional and typical Chilean products that were sold as originals. This damaged not only the producers but also the consumers, both domestic and foreign, discouraging the manufacture of traditional products. To date, thanks to the Seal of Origin program, 24 national products are already protected, and there are 9 applications in process. Along with this, thanks to the Seal of Origin, Chilean consumers have been able to easily and quickly identify products that have an appellation of origin, geographical indication, collective mark or certification mark, which immediately attributes them quality, reputation and characteristics based on their geographical origin. In addition, starting in 2015 official road signs began to be placed in all those locations that have products recognized by the Seal of Origin, creating new tourism routes. Another benefit for the population in general is related to the promotion of poor communities far from urban centers, such as Easter Island, Magallanes in the southern tip of South America, Pica, Juan Fernández Island, Chiloé, among others, which has allowed them to improve marketing possibilities of their products, not only nationally but also internationally, having a positive effect on the economy of these localities and contributing to the decentralization of Chile. In addition, in many occasions it is possible to verify, with emotion, how the producers welcome the recognition and feel that their crafts are being valued again. Finally, it is important to highlight the appreciation of women artisans as one of the pillars and success of this program. Although in many of the cases there are women producers, in three of the 24 products protected by the Seal of Origin, namely Chamantos and Mantas Corraleras from Doñihue (Linens and ponchos), Pottery from Qunchamalí and Manos de Isla Negra (embroideries), these are made exclusively by women artisans. In this way they are given a seal that translates into a proper recognition of their work, transmitted from generation to generation, giving it a unique character and recognizing its added value.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Not applicable

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
One of the main measures of the initiative consisted in a cooperation agreement with the Undersecretary of Regional Development - SUBDERE- to finance studies for the poorest communities, in order to ensure the participation of low-income associations. Another measure is related to the integration of women artisans and the preservation of their work by obtaining the "Manos de Isla Negra" Certification Mark, which was requested to distinguish the textiles created by the women of Isla Negra. This is a town located on the central coast of Chile, close to Valparaíso, with only 898 inhabitants. About 50 artisans from the group "Embroiderers of Isla Negra" were directly benefited with the Seal of Origin program. A similar case to the previous one, due to its high relation with artisan women, is the Appellation of Origin of Quinchamalí Pottery, product made only by women in a small town of only 1,300 inhabitants, located in the Biobío region, which gave them an important tool against unauthorized reproduction.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial
Institution Type:   Public Agency  
Contact Person:   Alvaro González López
Title:   Sr.  
Telephone/ Fax:   +56971087929
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   alvaro.gonzalez@inapi.cl  
Address:   Alameda Libertador B. O'higgins 194
Postal Code:   8331030
City:   Santiago
State/Province:   Santiago
Country:  

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