The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BRPTO) efforts to reduce the patent backlog is generating positive results despite the insufficient number of patent examiners and incentives from the government.
Among the initiatives implemented are the alternatives for expediting examination, which can reduce the examination time from an average of 9 years to 4 years.
The BRPTO currently has 17 types of expedite examination and, although several of those are turned to national applicants (individuals and small Brazilian companies), some can still be used by foreign applicants. The most common are detailed below:
- Pharmaceutical Applications – Inventions related to pharmaceutical products, processes, equipment and materials related to public health are eligible for accelerated examination if the application is related to diagnosis, treatment or prophylaxis of AIDS, cancer, neglected diseases or considered strategic for the public health.
- COVID-19 – Inventions related to products, pharmaceutical processes and equipment or materials used in the diagnostic, prevention or treatment of COVID-19 are also eligible.
- Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) – The agreement between BRPTO and several foreign patent offices, such as USPTO and EPO, enables accelerated examination in BRPTO if an application of the same patent family has already been granted in one of the foreign patent offices.
- Green Patents – Inventions that focus on the environment (alternative energy, transportation, energy conservation, waste management and agriculture) are eligible for accelerated examination.
- Elderly Applicant – Applications where at least one of the applicants has over 60 years, are also eligible for expedited examination.
- Possible infringement – If the applicant is aware of third parties' activities that may result in violation of the Brazilian application, the applicant may request expedited examination provided that such activities are directly related to the Brazilian market, such as using it, selling or exporting to Brazil the protected product.
Of course, every program has its specific set of rules and conditions to be met but yet this seems promising not only in reducing the current backlog but also as a useful tool to secure our client's Patents rights.