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Brazil announces new fast track options for patent examination

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The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office recently announced three new fast-track options for the examination of patent applications, which are already in effect. These new fast-tracks are available for: (i) applications covering “technologies already available in the [Brazilian] market”; (ii) applications filed by local startups; and (iii) applications for “technologies resulting from [Brazilian] public funding.”

The first option welcomes any application claiming subject matter that is available in the Brazilian market. According to the new rules, a technology is considered to be "available in the market" when at least part of the claimed subject matter has been licensed, put on sale, imported to, or exported from Brazil. This option has the potential to help applicants, fearing the entrance of infringers, to obtain patent protection sooner rather than later.

In order to benefit from the second option, dedicated to local startups, the applicant must present a certificate, issued by local authorities, stating that it meets the statutory definition of a startup. According to the statute, a “startup” is an innovative company that “aims to improve systems, methods or business models,” either incrementally or in a disruptive fashion. According to the BPTO, the goal of this new fast-track option is to assist technology-based companies in establishing themselves in the market, as patents allow them to confirm the originality of their inventions.

Finally, with regard to the third option, the new rules state that a technology is considered as "resulting from public funding" whenever the claimed subject matter results entirely from efforts of Brazilian public entities to develop that matter.

With these three new options, the BPTO will now offer more than a dozen fast-track options to expedite examination of patent applications, including PPH programmes with foreign patent offices and the green patents programme (envirotech inventions).

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