Violation of intellectual property rights in Chile
Lead NCPChile
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by Escapes Santander, a small Chilean business, regarding the activities of Minera Escondida Limitada, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, an Australian multinational enterprise operating in Chile. Specific instance transferred to the Chilean NCP from the Australian NCP.
Theme(s)Consumer interests, Employment and industrial relations, General policies, Human rights, Science and technology
Date19 Dec 2011
Host country(ies)Chile
SourceBusiness
Industry sectorMining and quarrying
StatusNot accepted
Summary

In December 2011 the Chilean NCP received a request for review from Escapes Santander, a small Chilean business, alleging that Minera Escondida Limitada, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, an Australian-based multinational enterprise had breached the general policies, human rights, employment and industrial relations, consumer interests, and science and technology provisions of the Guidelines in Chile. In January 2012 the Australian NCP also received a request for review from the Escapes Sandander and this request was subsequently transferred to the Chilean NCP who would act as lead NCP in this instance. Read the Australian NCP's public statement regarding the transfer.

In the request the Chilean business alleged that Minera Escondida had violated its intellectual property rights related to the design of safety equipment for light trucks used in mining operations. Despite the fact Santander's design is patented under Chilean law, Minera Escondida employed an example of Santader's design without paying compensation. Santander is also pursuing legal recourse in Chile. In turn Minera Escondida requested that Escapes Santander's patents be nullified.

In addition to the intellectual property rights issue, Escapes Santander also accused Minera Escondida of not operating in accordance with sound commercial practice, of failing to uphold and apply good corporate governance practices, and of failing to encourage business partners to apply principles of corporate conduct compatible with the OECD Guidelines.

The Chilean NCP undertook an initial assessment and determined that Minera/BHP Billiton had not violated the Guidelines, stating that the company’s action did not affect the public interest. The NCP did, however, offer to facilitate a dialogue with the aim to help the parties resolve the issues. Minera/BHP Billion, however, stated that it would not engage in the NCP-facilitated process due to parallel legal proceedings. In October 2013 the specific instance was thus concluded.