Brazil is definitely “of the hour”. The country has 12% of world’s drinkable water and its Amazon forest produces 20% of the Earth’s oxygen. Brazilian agriculture and technology have provided the world with ethanol as an alternative fuel. The consumer market is significant (200 million people) and the political and economic institutions are stable. Not enough? The FIFA Soccer World Cup (2014) and the Olympic Games (2016) will be held there, and have already brought investments in security and infrastructure. As US president Barack Obama commented while visiting Brazil last month (yes, the country is on his agenda): “Brazil is no longer a country of the future, the future has arrived.“
In the intellectual property field, a modern law passed in 1996 has created a good environment for protecting and enforcing IP rights.
Patent and trademark e-filing
A growing backlog of patent applications has led the Brazilian patent and trademark office (INPI) to implement an electronic patent filing system. This system is already in the test phase and is forecast to be operating fully before the end of 2011. E-Patent, as it is called, aims to accelerate the examination phase and reduce the time to grant from the current average of seven years to four years. In addition to the time advantage, the accessibility of file wrappers and the reduction in administrative costs will lower the fees currently charged for searches and queries by Brazilian agents.
E-Patent follows the introduction of e-Marks, a similar system for trademarks which has been operating since September 2007. The new system has been well received by trademark agents and already accounts for 53% of the total volume of filings, exceeding the amount of paper filings. The timeframe for trademark examination has been reduced from six to two years for applications without opposition.
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Bruno Lopes Holfinger is a telecommunications engineer and a lawyer. He is a partner at Dannemann Siemsen Bigler & Ipanema Moreira in Brazil. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Filipe Fonteles Cabral is a lawyer and partner at Dannemann Siemsen Bigler & Ipanema Moreira. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org