The Chargé in Chile (Scotten) to the Secretary of State

No. 377

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 142 of April 30, 1935 (File No. 825.544/8 (825.542/7]), with reference to discrimination against foreign applicants for patent and trade mark registration in Chile, resulting from the imposition of a gold surcharge on the fees payable by such foreign applicants which had the effect of making fees to be paid by the latter 400% higher than those paid by citizens of Chile.

Shortly after my despatch No. 275 of January 21, 1935, reporting this situation, the Chilean Government introduced a bill for the consideration of Congress which aimed at the elimination of the discriminatory features of the situation described in that despatch. This bill, dated January 25, 1935, was not acted upon by the special session of the Chilean Congress which met from April 22, 1935, to May 22, 1935, and is now on the agenda of the Finance Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. A translation of the bill is enclosed herewith.15 In effect it seeks to create a schedule of fees for trade mark and patent registration which is equal to those fees plus gold surcharge which have been paid by foreign applicants from the inception of Decree Law No. 65 on June 27, 1932, to December 31, 1934. Foreign applicants will not pay less under the new law, but they will be placed on a basis of equality with Chilean applicants, who will pay considerably higher fees than the schedules established by the last legislation on the subject: Law 5154 of April 10, 1933, Article 56.

Acting under the Department’s instruction of April 30th, the Embassy informally expressed to the Foreign Office the hope of the American Government that the Government of Chile would ensure the speedy enactment of legislation to remove the existing discrimination against American patent and trade mark applicants. The Foreign Office endeavored to ascertain the prospects for prompt passage of the draft law; but apparently it must wait its turn for consideration on the agenda of the Finance Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. The Department will be kept informed as to the progress of this pending legislation.

In the meantime discrimination exists as between Chilean applicants for trade mark and patent registration as compared with foreign applicants; but there appears to be no discrimination as between foreign applicants of various nationalities as, for example, the French vis-à-vis Americans. Possibly the alleged advantage [Page 427] enjoyed by French applicants referred to in the Department’s instruction under reference arose from the availabilities of foreign exchange rather than from some concession granted in connection with patent and trade mark applications. The basic Decree-Law No. 65 which established the gold surcharge made no distinction as between foreign nationalities, but only as between “foreign persons or firms resident outside the territory of the Republic” and citizens of Chile.

Respectfully yours,

Robert M. Scotten
  1. Not printed.