On April 17, 2012, Brazil became the first emerging country to institute a fast-track program for the accelerated examination of patent applications directed to alternative energy, transportation, energy conservation, waste management and agriculture (a full list of qualifying technologies can be found here). This program became known as the “green” patent pilot program. The goal of the program has been to conduct examination of applications covering these technologies in two years or less. Generally, the average prosecution time in Brazil is over ten years.
In order to participate in the program, an applicant must comply with the following:
- the application (a patent application or utility mode) must not have undergone technical examination;
- the application must contain no more than 15 total claims (three of which are independent);
- submission of the form specific to the pilot program;
- request examination (if not already requested); and
- request publication (if the application has not already been published).
According to the information available in the Brazilian PTO web site, since the beginning of the program until the last available update (February 3, 2015), a total of 41 patents have been granted, 46 applications have been rejected, 99 applications have suffered an unfavorable opinion and 53 applications have received Office Actions. In fact, at the National Institute of Industrial Property’s (INPI) website, it is possible to follow the progress applications in the program as well as view statistics on a number of aspects of the program (such as the number of granted, rejected or shelved applications, the number of office actions issued, etc.).
The program is currently in its third phase. As part of this final phase, the program is now accepting patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The third phase of the program will end on April 16, 2015 (or if 500 new applications meeting the requirements are filed).
Applicants wishing to take advantage of this program should do so sooner rather than later as time is running out to participate in this program.
This post was written by Lisa Mueller and Roberto Rodrigues and André Venturini of Licks Attorneys.