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Why Amazon couldn't register its virtual assistant Alex in Chile

Alexa, Amazon’s renowned voice assistant and one of Jeff Bezos’s most popular devices, is having trouble getting to Chile after the High Court declined to register his name in the country to coincide with a registered trademark. for another company.

In January 2016, Amazon began the process of registering Alexa in Chile, but first and foremost, brand registration could not be made, since the German audiovisual company Arnold & Richter Cine Technik had already registered the name “Alexa”.

Although the company manufactures cameras, in other countries both brands coexist without problems, in Chile, and according to Esteban Figueroa, the national director (s) of the Institute of Industrial Property (Inapi) at La Tercera cannot be registered at the same time. Amazon's Amazon and Alexa Arnold & Richter's Alexa is because it can create a risk of confusion for consumers who may believe that the goods or services belong to the same company or related companies.

“The analysis of the brand's registration is carried out in each specific case, taking into account not only the similarity of brands, but also the products or services that distinguish the previously registered brand,” he explains. "Similarly, it cannot be compared with the analysis carried out by other countries, since the applicable law in Chile and practice vary from country to country and, therefore, only affect what they are trying to register on national territory."


In Chile, the National Institute of Industrial Property is a government body that performs the functions of registration, administration and implementation of industrial property policies. That is, it is there that companies must register their commercial brands.

According to Inapi, the procedure registration of a trademark in Chile mainly consists of three stages: application and formal examination of the application, issuance of publication of an extract in the official newspaper and examination of the merits of the application.

The first step is to present the relevant application.who must request protection for products, services, businesses, industry or propaganda phrases. From this application, a formal examination is carried out. to ensure that legal and regulatory requirements are met. After the official review has been approved, the application must be published in the official gazette so that third parties can object to the request if they think they have a better right. Was the opposition or not, Inapi conducts substantive examination to make sure that the application for a trademark does not violate any legal basis for the lack of registration. After the application approves this substantive examination, the Inapi National Director provides an administrative decision that assigns the mark and its subsequent registration. If the application for a trademark is rejected, there is a possibility of appeal against this decision in a court of industrial property.

And this is the last thing Amazon has done.

However until this case His request to use Alex’s name was also rejected. Confronted with this Bezos company appealed to the Supreme Courtwhere your request was rejected again. Confronted with this iThe American company in December filed an appeal for the completion, even using a letter from Arnold & Richter, where it gave its consent, explaining that in the international markets both companies coexisted using the name “Alexa” without problems. Despite this, the Supreme Court did not rule in favor of Bezos, which is why Amazon cannot use Alexa technology to register in Chile. An alternative would be to change the name of the voice assistant, but this would not be a change to something like that, such as “Alecsa,” since it also takes into account that they represent a graphic or phonetic similarity to trademarks or requested earlier.

Currently, large companies on the market, such as Google and Apple, have their own personal voice assistants with well-established voice commands to call them (“Ok Google” and “Hey Siri”, respectively). In the case of Amazon, calling via Alexa you can consult about time, make purchases, ask about traffic conditions, create subroutines, make video calls, dictate and send text messages, as well as many other functions.

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