Reducing the Backlog for Patents in Brazil: a Review of the Available Examination Acceleration Programmes
The backlog is one of the main problems that a company has to face when applying for a patent before the Brazilian Intellectual Property Office, the INPI. A patent application can take an average of seven years to be granted in Brazil.
For this reason, the INPI has established a series of special programs in order to speed up the process for some categories of patents or applicants.
What are some of the legal solutions available to companies to reduce the impact of the backlog on their applications?
ICTs Patent Program
The ICTs Patents Pilot Program started on June 22, 2017 and will last for one year or until the limit of 200 patents is reached. It provides a fast track registration – lasting, according to INPI’s forecast, from eight to ten months. The program is open to Technology and Science Institutions, the so-called “ICTs”. An ICT is defined by the law as a “body or entity of direct or indirect public administration or non-profit private legal entity legally constituted under Brazilian laws, with headquarters and forum in the Country, and which includes in its institutional mission or in its social or statutory objective, basic or applied scientific or technological research or the development of new products, services or processes(…)”.
Patent Prosecution Highway between USPTO and INPI
The program was kickstarted in January 2016 as a pilot and expected to last for 2 years. It provides that any applicant who receives a positive ruling on a patent claim from either the INPI Brazil or the USPTO can request an accelerated procedure when applying to the other office. For the moment, acceptance from the INPI Brazil has been limited to patents filed in front of the USPTO in the oil and gas industry sector.
MPE Patents Pilot Project
The second phase of MPE Patent project started in March 2017, following the INPI Resolution No. 181 of 21 February 2017. The Program provides a fast track to applicants who are legally qualified as small or micro entities in Brazil. It will last for one year or until the number of 150 requests is reached.
The Japan Patent Office – INPI Pilot Project
This pilot started on 1 April 2017, following INPI Resolution No. 184. The program is supposed to run for 2 years or until 200 requests are filed. In the framework of this project, INPI Brazil will accept applications concerning the Information Technology field, whereas the JPO will accept any PPH application, not limited to any technical field. Both offices will reserve the applications an accelerated route.
Green Patent Program
The Green Patent Program provides for a priority route for patent applications related to green technologies, such as alternative energy, transportation, energy conservation, residue management and agriculture. It has been running for four years as a pilot and because of the good results achieved – with an average decision time of 2 years, it has become a permanent program.
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