For many years, Brazil has been known worldwide as a difficult country for doing business. There was a number of reasons for this, including the problems associated with obtaining patents within a reasonable timeframe.
The granting of patents is highly beneficial to society, as it gives the holder the exclusive rights over the patent subject matter for a certain period of time. After this period, the invention falls into public domain, and its corresponding details are released.
The great benefit of granting patents to society is the encouragement given to research and development of new technologies, new medicines and many other inventions that are modernizing, improving and extending the lives of all.
The extreme delay in granting patents in Brazil is undoubtedly a factor that discourages investments in research and development.
For many years, the Brazilian reality regarding the examination of patent applications shows that the excessive examination delay by the INPI (which takes about 10 to 14 years, depending on the technology area – known as the patent backlog) is unacceptable. A more drastic approach is urgently needed, since the current situation is an embarrassment for our country. This position does not take away from all the acknowledged efforts of the INPI examiners and the various office administrations over the years.
Today Brazil has a new government, a new administration at the INPI and a new focus to modernize our economy, which necessarily involves the patent system. This is also the reason why the INPI has now been linked to the Ministry of Economy.
With all the announced changes being implemented by the new government, an important step has been taken on this patent issue. The government has recently announced a plan to combat the patent backlog in order to expedite the examination of nearly 170,000 patent applications pending examination (with new applications still entering Brazil), which was implemented just a few weeks ago.
While this project may not even constitute the ideal means to combat the backlog, at least something concrete has finally been done in order to prevent such an unacceptable situation from prevailing.
An initiative to be applauded!
This exciting topic will be widely discussed in one of the panels of the next ABPI (Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property) Congress on 25/27 August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.