In Argentina, confidential information and trade secrets are protected by Section 39.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Section 156 of the Argentine Penal Code, Law 24,766 (the Confidentiality Law) and the recently passed Emergency Decree 274/2019, which regulates different unfair competition aspects. This article provides an overview of the Argentine trade secrets legal regime.
The rapid growth in internet use has given rise to conflicts between registered trademark owners and third parties using said marks. For example, search engine advertising systems make it possible to create ads that show products or services to users who are looking for them. Federal Court of Appeals in Civil and Commercial Matters case law provides useful guidance on the use of third-party trademarks as keywords in internet advertising.
Until the approval of Emergency Decree 274/2019 in April 2019, the regulation of unfair competition in Argentina was characterised by a lack of organisation, narrow scope and lack of a general rule for standardising acts of unfair competition. The new decree sets out numerous provisions that are relevant to the IP field, including provisions addressing the regulation of comparative advertising, designations of origin, secrecy, data exclusivity and trademarks.
The protection provided under industrial property law to commercial signs registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property is more effective than that offered by unfair competition law. It is therefore worth questioning whether unfair competition law exercises any function with regard to the protection of registered signs. There may be sectors in which the protection of a rights holder's interest requires the combined use of IP and competition law.
Since the Trademark Law reserves the right to use a trademark for the mark's owner, legal scholars in Argentina have long debated whether the use of trademarks in comparative advertising is permitted. With the recent approval of Emergency Decree 274/2019, legislation has, for the first time, addressed comparative advertising in Argentina in a detailed and systematic manner and established when it is allowed.