The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recently held its first ever congress to discuss new developments that it hopes will elevate Brazil’s intellectual property system to a level of excellence. Targets set at the congress are being supported by “The Bigger Brazil Plan” of the Brazilian federal government, which seeks to encourage innovation and enhance competitiveness in the internal and external markets.
During the three day event, a number of measures were announced by the PTO president, Jorge Ávila, including a new electronic filings system for patents (“e-Patentes”). Inspired by the electronic system used by the European Patent Office the launch of this service is intended to speed up the patent process and therefore stimulate technological innovation in the country. The appointment of 455 new patent examiners by January 2014 was also announced to improve the efficiency of the current examination system and reduce the backlog of patent and trade mark applications awaiting examination.
In other developments the Office is also launching a mediation centre to deal with patent and trade mark conflicts and cases involving counterfeiting and unfair competition. The centre is intended to provide a more cost effective, efficient alternative to patent or trade mark litigation.
The PTO is working hard to make it easier and more cost effective to protect and enforce intellectual property rights in Brazil. This is welcome news for companies with business interests in the country.
If you are planning on doing business in Brazil, or trading there already, it is essential that you know how to protect and enforce rights in the intellectual property that your business owns. Intellectual property rights are territorial and therefore applications must be made in Brazil if you wish to enjoy the benefit of protection. Without registration your products, processes and brand names are vulnerable to infringement. The protection of your intellectual property through patent, design or trade mark registration is vital to guard against the risk of piracy, cybersquatting counterfeiting and theft.
A granted Brazilian patent gives the holder an exclusive right to exploit an invention, as well as the right to take legal action to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling, and importing the invention in Brazil. Similarly, a Brazilian trade mark registration gives the holder an exclusive right to use a brand name in Brazil, and the right to take action against unauthorised use of that brand (or similar) in the country. A registered design in Brazil provides an exclusive right in the look and appearance of a product.
As well as protecting your own intellectual property it is equally important to ensure that you do not infringe the registered rights of other companies when launching a new product or brand. Searches of Brazilian intellectual property registers can be carried out to assess whether any such risk exists.
For example a trade mark search can be undertaken to ensure that a selected brand name is available for use and registration. The importance of carrying out such searches and securing a registration before launch of a product is something that technology giant Apple recently found out to their cost, when their application to register “iPhone” for mobile phones in Brazil was rejected due to the existence of an earlier registration for an identical mark, registered by a Brazilian company six years before.
Lincoln IP is a firm of patent and trade mark attorneys, with a specialism in providing businesses with sensible, strategic advice on intellectual property protection. Our team has many years of experience in advising businesses on filing strategies for patents, trade marks and registered designs both in the UK and overseas, and works closely with and has a strong network of trusted IP specialists in Brazil.
The firm offers a complete range of intellectual property services including:
For further information or advice please contact:
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