The issue of reducing the backlog of the examination of patent applications has become a priority for the Brazilian PTO. In 2019, a programme aiming at expediting the examination procedure was created targeting patents applications filed until December 31 2016. This initiative has presented such satisfactory results that the Brazilian PTO has already announced the extension of the programme to patent applications filed until December 31 2017.
The Brazilian PTO recently published its action plan for the year of 2021, pointing out goals to increase the efficiency of the indicators related to their services. In a two-year period of backlog combat programme, over 60% of all outstanding patent applications have been resolved. An additional reduction of 74% in the third quarter is expected, reaching the mark of 80% by the end of 2021. Putting it into real number, the year of 2021 started with 73,500 of unexamined patent applications, while in May 2021, only about 58,500 patent applications remain unexamined.
Going back to the goals established by the Brazilian PTO for 2021, it is worth noting that the reduction in the delay in the examination of patent applications is aimed at through the publication of around 30,000 decisions, even though the body of Brazilian examiners is considerably smaller compared to other jurisdictions. Further, the total time for completing the technical examination of a patent application will be four years from its filing date.
Regarding these indicators, upon analysing the last five years, the average time between the examination request and the first office action published reached a maximum of 7.16 years in 2017, decreasing for 4.69 years in 2019 and 3.30 years in 2020. For the decisions issued by the Brazilian PTO, it varied from 7,152 in 2015 to 51,588 in 2020 (an increase of about 86%).
A specific look at the year 2019, when the plan to combat the backlog began, shows that the data related to issuance of examination decisions increased of 125% in allowance decisions and rejection decisions. In 2020, the publication of decisions represented an increase of 150% in relation to 2019 and 462% in relation to 2015, showing a performance superior to that achieved in 2019.
Summarising the data obtained, in terms of the issuance of decisions, the annual gain is of around 48%, indicating that the Brazilian PTO is enhancing each year by almost a half its ability of publishing examination decisions.
It is expected that the Brazilian PTO achieves its goal of reverting the slow scenario of examining patent applications in Brazil. By following this way, Brazil will certainly become more attractive for new investments and, consequently, for the protection of assets.
Article published on Managing IP. Read it here.