The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) recently issued Resolution P-339/10, which aims to help patent applicants to speed up the prosecution of patent applications by swapping the order of examination of patent applications. This will be the third time that this fast-track option has become available, following similar resolutions in 2004 and 2007. The fast-track option enables earlier examination and resolution of patent applications.

Under Resolution P-339/10, an applicant can request a swap of the chronological order of examination of two applications, provided that:

  • both applications have been published;
  • the substantive examination fee has been paid for both applications;
  • both applications belong to the same subclass of the International Patent Classification;
  • substantive examination has not yet begun for either application; and
  • a written request is filed that names both of the applications whose chronological order of examination is to be swapped, along with a copy of the power of attorney.

The INPI conducts substantive examination of applications by following the chronological order of the date of payment of the substantive examination fee not the filing date of the application. Due to the backlog in patent examinations, the new fast-track possibility allows applicants to switch the order of examination of their own applications in order to accelerate prosecution of those that are considered high priority.

This benefit may reduce prosecution time of targeted applications by up to several years and applicants can accelerate the examination and potential granting of high priority cases.

The deadline for submitting requests for the fast-track programme is April 30 2011 and is not extendable.

For further information on this topic please contact Federico Augusto Aulmann at Obligado & Cia by telephone (+54 11 4114 1100), fax (+54 11 4311 5675) or email ([email protected]).