INPI undergoing changes to improve patent approval turnaround time

July 1, 2013
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Because of a diminished staff and poor infrastructure, Brazil's National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has found itself with a major backlog of patents in a number of different sectors. According to a report from Mondaq, the weight can be anywhere from eight to 10 years in some instances and, in 2011, the average time was 5.4 years.

To help alleviate this problem, the organization announced several changes that will speed up the process and help eliminate the backlog. First off, there has been a partnership formed between the European Patent Office (EPO) and INPI in Argentina which will see the groups work together on the mountain of patents currently awaiting approval. On top of that, the Brazilian locations are working to upgrade their IT infrastructure which will include online applications and digital document sharing.

Another new rule allows for the fast tracking of certain patents, like the examination of those for medications, healthcare equipment and processes that could weigh more heavily on public matters. Essentially, anything that the Ministry of Health considers a priority will get moved to the front of the line. These will include medications or procedures related to the treatment of cancer, aids and neglected diseases, such as leishmaniasis, malaria and yellow fever.

There is currently a law in place that allows those filing a patent to apply for priority treatment from the government if they believe their product is for the "public interest." This rule eliminates the need to file a request as every patent will be subject to that decision.

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