Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Bolivian Cyber Activists Uncover Potential QR Code Patent

Bolivian cyber activists worked collectively to unfold a potential unlawful patent over the use of Quick Response Codes, known as QR codes, in the country.

Earlier this month, Bolivian netizen @hermany [es] sparked curiosity when he enquired on Twitter about the alleged patented use of QR codes in Bolivia:

@hermany: ¿Alguien la Paz me puede decir si Advice Marketing Ltda. patentó los QR y hay que pagarles a ellos por el uso? #Boliva #Tech #fraude?

@hermany: Can anyone in La Paz tell me if Advice Marketing Ltda. patented QR codes and one must pay this company for using them? #Boliva #Tech #fraude?

Photo by Lydia Shiningbrightly (CC BY 2.0)

The company’s website has withdrawn the patent announcement from its website, but activist Daniel Cotillas (@danicotillas) [es] captured and shared a screenshot [es].

Following up with the collective enquiring under the hashtag #QRBolivia, blogger Mario Durán from El Alto got in touch with the Intellectual Property National Service [es] (SENAPI in Spanish) and representatives of the company.

Mario has been posting regular updates on the case in his blog [es] under the question, “Can the use of QR codes in Bolivia be patented?”

According to the information gathered by Mario, Advice Marketing officially states [es, pdf] that QR codes can be publicly used just by notifying them in advance. Meanwhile, officials from SENAPI confirmed [es] that the company applied for the patent back in September 2012; however, SENAPI has not issued a resolution on the matter (the legal term to reach a decision is 18 months). Therefore, such patent or restriction may not be applicable.

Bolivian cyber activists will surely keep a close watch on the issue as the case develops in the coming months. You can follow their discussion under the hashtag #QRBolivia.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site