The Brazilian PTO in times of coronavirus: efforts to modernize the institution, and reduce backlog

In 2006 the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) began to replace all physical application processes for patents and trademarks with electronic processes. This was an essential step in its program of modernization, and its drive to eliminate the backlog. By contrast, the Industrial Property Bulletin (Revista da Propriedade Industrial, or RPI), has been published in electronic form since mid-2005.

Another critical step was overall technological modernization and the development of computerized examination procedures. An excellent example of this transformation was the implementation of the IPAS system, in June 2013. This system integrated three databases, which enabled the process of examination of trademarks to be executed in a single software. This gradually led to most of the BPTO’s work being done electronically, opening the doors for it and its staff to work remotely.

The pilot home office experience was launched in July 2016 and has continued to improve ever since. A large part of the trademark and patent examiners were already working remotely and, to reduce the backlog, had their workload targets set 30% above those examiners working from the office.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, all examiners are now working remotely from the safety of their home offices, enabling the agency to continue performing its duties regularly.
This rapid transition was possible because of the solid home office structure already developed by the BPTO prior to the health crisis.

During this emergency period, the BPTO will have an opportunity to fine-tune its ability to operate effectively remotely: the system has already proven effective in raising the productivity of the examiners by over 30%.
If on the one hand, the suspension of deadlines may benefit some users that are unable to monitor their administrative processes at the BPTO, on the other hand, BPTO’s continuous operation will contribute greatly to reduce the existing backlog, which benefits the Brazilian general public.

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