On 21 December 2021, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) published Ordinance 055/2021, which implemented Phase III of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programme from 1 January 2022 onwards.
This is good news, as it reveals the consistent success of Brazil’s involvement in PPH programmes. Indeed, Phase I of the programme was considered a triumph as it reached its limit of 400 applications in December 2020. Phase II of the PPH programme began on 1 January 2021 and by the end of the year achieved its limit of 600 applications. On 5 November 2021, the INPI reported the end of Phase II of the PPH programme.
The PPH programme is a priority exam option, with a focus on expediting the examination of Brazilian patent applications whose subject matter is considered patentable by a partner patent office. So far, the INPI has PPH agreements in force with offices in the following countries: Austria; China; Denmark; Europe; Japan; Singapore; South Korea; Sweden; the United Kingdom; and the United States.
The main changes to the requirements of Phase II of the PPH programme brought by Ordinance 055/2021 are the following:
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)-PPH – a favourable international preliminary report on patentability will be accepted as the basis for a PPH request.
- Number of requests – the limit of requests has increased from 600 to 800 requests per year, wherein:
- each International Patent Classification section has a limit of 150 requests per year;
- applicants are limited to one PPH request per week; and
- PCT-PPH is limited to 100 requests per year.
In addition to the implementation of the Phase III of the PPH programme, the INPI and the Japan Patent Office signed a memorandum of cooperation for the renewal of the PPH agreement between the two countries on 9 November 2021. The current agreement expired on 30 November 2021. The new agreement will last for five years, starting on 1 December 2021. Further, on 16 December 2021, the INPI and the Portuguese Patent and Trademark Office signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a PPH Pilot Project for patent applications filed in both offices with a duration of five years.