(via Oscar Monezuma) Peru and Chile have been involved in all sorts of disputes over te years, including war, territorial claims, football, and most importantly, pisco. Now a Peruvian woman has added to the often friendly animosity between the two countries by obtaining IP rights in Chile over “la marinera”, a national dance from Peru. According to Terra news site, Cecilia Gurmendi is a Peruvian dancer who lives in Chile. She made a claim to the Chilean Intellectual Property Department to obtain protection for the Peruvian folkloric dance, which was granted. The article is not clear on the type of protection claimed, the title suggests that she patented the dance, but then they also claim that she has ownership over the name for a period of ten years. I will try to get more detailed legal information from my contacts in the countries involved, so stay tuned for updates.
This is an interesting twist to Chilean-Peruvian relations. Apparently Ms Gurmendi has made her claim to stop Chileans from stealing the national Peruvian dance, just like they did with pisco. According to the Terra article, anyone attempting to make a public display of La Marinera has to obtain permission from Ms Grumendi. But things do not stop there, her husband is trying to obtain intellectual property protection over religious processions involving the Cristo Nazareno, another Peruvian tradition.
I know this is not indicative of any larger trends, and it is simply a freakish legal incident, the likes of which makes the monotony of the black letter of the law easier to bear, but I think that there is something to be said about the growing impact of IP in the public’s psyche. Using Intellectual Property as a tool for nationalism seems like a natural progression from abusing it for commercial purposes. Make a broad, unsubstantiated and preposterous claim, and see if it sticks.
Hey, it works for software patents, so why not for petty cross-border disputes?
Update: Thanks to one of the comments I have learned that La Marinera has been registered as a trade mark in Chile under class 41 in order to describe typical Peruvian dances.