Smart IP for Latin America is an initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, a research institute of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science located in Munich, Germany. The Initiative provides a neutral forum for academic and political debate on intellectual property and competition law in Latin America.

The Max Planck Institute is a politically independent non-profit institution with more than fifty years of experience in basic research and international scientific cooperation. Its research incorporates the interests and needs of developed and developing countries alike, supporting them in designing sustainable and balanced public policies and legal frameworks while respecting local particularities and regional diversity.

Intellectual property systems are public policy tools. They should serve to realize a country’s social, cultural and economic potential. To achieve this, intellectual property rights need to be tailored to the market conditions and the competitive environment within which they are supposed to operate, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders and the countries’ specific characteristics and needs. Intellectual property systems have to be defined, justified and continually reassessed in terms of their socio-economic benefits and costs.

The Initiative focuses on examining processes of innovation and competition to provide evidence-based and impartial advice on how to regulate these processes. Its main objective is to analyze the legal and regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property and competition in Latin America and to produce research that can serve as guidance for countries in the region to identify and implement laws and policies that best suit their own creative and technological capabilities as well as their particular social, cultural and economic needs and priorities. While intellectual property is in the focus of the Initiative, it draws knowledge from multiple fields of law and disciplines.

The Initiative intends to raise awareness for the importance of effective and balanced intellectual property protection. It promotes academic and institutional cooperation within Latin America and provides support in the implementation of intellectual property and competition law as instruments for sustainable development and economic growth. Collaboration between academia and the legislature, the judiciary, intellectual property offices, competition authorities, the private sector and other stakeholders is essential in order to ensure that Latin America can realise its full social, cultural and economic potential.


To carry out cutting-edge and first-hand research, an Observatory was established in 2019 at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Observatory coordinates the Initiative's research activities and events. It organizes summits all over Latin America to develop research projects and discuss the findings with stakeholders. It also prepares and disseminates scientific studies and policy papers and organizes lectures, seminars and workshops, as well as the Initiative's annual conference.

The Observatory has permanent members and counts on the support of a large network of outstanding academics from all over Latin America who form part of the Initiative's research projects. All the activities of the Observatory are carried out in close collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich.

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Advisory Committee

To benefit from the experience and insights of local and regional experts, the Initiative is supported by an Advisory Committee. Its members are Latin American nationals of international renown with extensive expertise and experience in intellectual property and competition law and a deep understanding of the region’s social, cultural and economic particularities.

The Advisory Committee is involved in the development of the Initiative's research projects and in their realization. It has a multidisciplinary composition, comprising lawyers, economists, and public policy experts.

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In 2020, a scientific Association was established. The Association raises funds to finance the Initiative's research activities and events by participating in national, regional and international funding programs.

The Association is also a networking platform for the Latin American intellectual property and competition law community. In return for an annual fee, the members of the Association become part of an expert network of academics, practitioners and officials interested in innovation and competition. The membership fee is used to finance the Initiative's research activities and events. Members are invited to the Initiative's annual conference and receive regular updates on the Initiative's research findings.

If you would like to join the Association, please get in touch with us at


Within the broad research spectrum of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition is committed to fundamental legal and economic research on processes of innovation and competition and their regulation. Its research focuses on the incentives, determinants and implications of innovation. With an outstanding international team of scholars and excellent scientific and administrative infrastructure including our renowned library, it hosts academics from all over the world and actively promote young researchers. It informs and guides legal and economic discourse on an impartial basis. As an independent research institution, it provides evidence-based research results to academia, policymakers and the private sector, as well as the general public.

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide.

The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition is one of currently 86 research institutes of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science conducting basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. It is one of 11 institutes devoted to legal science. The Institute was founded in 1966 as the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law. In 2013, after the establishment of a new economics department, its name was changed to Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition.

Since its founding 50 years ago, the Institute has been committed to the development of intellectual property law and competition law on the basis of sound scientific principles. Through its wide range of contributions to research, it has initiated and provided guidance for important legislative processes on the national, the European and the international level. With the addition in 2013 of the economics department, the Institute took account of the fact that legal aspects are not the only factors determining the regulation of these processes. Rather, economic considerations represent an important, complementary set of instruments to measure the effects of legal norms. Conversely, economists also increasingly use insights from the field of law to make more realistic models of the processes and institutions they study and to examine them empirically. Using such complementary approaches in research allows for a better assessment of particularly those new phenomena that generate ever more interest in the worlds of business, politics and civil society.

To learn more about the Max Planck Institute's mission and research agenda, click here.