3 July 2018Americas

LSIPR 50 2018: Big changes in Brazil

Under the guidance of Luiz Otávio Pimentel, Brazil’s IP landscape has gone through significant changes in recent years.

Since his appointment as president of the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (INPI) in 2015, Pimentel has already made an impact.

Bringing with him interests in IP development, biotechnology innovation policy, and research and development projects, Pimentel is ideally placed to steer Brazil into clear IP waters.

From entering into a joint ordinance with the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) in April last year, to increasing the INPI workforce by a quarter, the country’s patent office is working hard to address IP-related issues.

“Brazilian companies are increasingly aware of the importance of IP,” says Pimentel. “Trademark applications are continuously growing and reached 186,103 in 2017.”

In 2016, there were 166,368 trademark applications in Brazil.

He adds: “On the other hand, patent applications are stable, standing at 28,667 last year.”

While the future is looking positive for Brazil’s IP landscape, it hasn’t come without its struggles.

Previously, a lack of definition of the attributions and procedures adopted by ANVISA and INPI when examining pharmaceutical patent applications led to a backlog.

INPI believed that ANVISA’s analysis should have been limited to a “health risk” analysis, but ANVISA was analysing patentability requirements in addition to that.

This resulted in a double-tier examination procedure in which both bodies analysed the patentability requirements of the same patent application. The two authorities were in a dispute as to who was in the position to examine patents.

To overcome this obstacle, the two organisations entered into a joint ordinance, clarifying each institution’s role in granting patents for pharmaceutical products and processes.

The new venture will help to accelerate the patent examination process, as well as facilitate the arrival of new generics on the market and ensure legal certainty for investors, according to Pimentel.

“Under the ordinance, ANVISA will analyse requests for prior consent focusing on the impact on public health, while INPI will analyse patentability,” Pimentel explains.

INPI and ANVISA are also in the process of initiating a working group with the purpose of encouraging the exchange of technical information, and working together to fully understand the patent examination process.

This is just one of Pimentel’s achievements during his time at INPI. The organisation is also receiving support from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services to solve the issue of delays in patent and trademark examinations. So far, this has delivered excellent results, according to Pimentel.

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