Both countries aim to increase the efficiency of the patent reviewing process.
On March 16th, the CEO of Brazil`s National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Luiz Otávio Pimentel, and Yoshinori Komiya, President of the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) signed a joint statement to make official the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) project between both countries.
This method of partnership consists of a way to accelerate the processing of patents through the sharing of information between official patent offices. Through the PPH, offices can use the work done previously by the partner institution, thus reducing the amount of time required to analyze patents. In Japan, a patent can take from five to six years to be processed, while in Brazil, it may take a decade or more.
The main reason for Brazil to take longer to process patents is the insufficient number of workers, which creates an extensive back log. In a speech in 2014, minister Armando Monteiro commented: “In Brazil, each reviewer needs to analyze more than ten times the recommended number of processes used in many offices around the world.”
Aiming to speed up the process, INPI recruited a task force to reduce the backlog, consisting of 58 public servants that received appropriate training to assist the operations. The project started in February 2016 and six months later, it hit 66% of the objective of submitting 9,700 reviews in 100 days. However, as much work is yet to be done, the partnership with the Japanese Patent Office comes as a necessity.
According to the Intellectual Property Rights Index of 2016, Japan is the is the 8th safest country in the world, regarding the protection of IP rights, whilst Brazil only appears in 64th in the same ranking.
The PPH will allow Brazilians to use the results of patents analyzed in Japan to increase the efficiency of the process and vice-versa. The initial phase of the project started on April 1stst and will last for two years or 200 patents, depending on which occurs first.
The Brazilian office will accept only requisitions regarding information technology, whereas Japan will accept patents from all fields.
This cooperation with Japan is not the first PPH partnership Brazil has entered. In January 2016, the country started a collaboration with the United States Patents Office (USPTO) and the scheduled duration here is two years as well. At present, 40 patents have been requested, 38 in Brazil and two in the United States
Apart from these PPHs, Brazil also aims to foster a relationship with the European Patents Office and with countries that participate in the Prosur (Offices of Industrial Property of South America), which are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.
These partnerships aim to reduce the time needed to process patents in Brazil, as the country is regarded as one of the most bureaucratic of its peers.