Getting to know Brazilian Patent Practice

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Blog, Patents

In the past, we received some questions regarding patent practice in Brazil and how this differs to other countries (in this post, we provide a contrast to the US approach). While similar in many ways, there are also some key differences between patent practice in other jurisdictions and in Brazil. In this short article, we explore some of these differences and consider what qualities are essential for such professionals going forward.

In the US, patent professionals are divided into two groups, patent agents and patent attorneys. A patent attorney is a lawyer who assists clients with patent work, while a patent agent is a professional licensed through the USPTO, to work on patent applications. You do not need to practice law to become a patent agent in the US, but you should at least hold a degree in a science or engineering subject before taking the patent bar examination.

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and respectively has the highest number of patent filings and patent practitioners in the region. Like in the US (as well as other LATAM countries) patent practitioners in Brazil are either lawyers with patent expertise or professionals with a technical background (for example in mechanics, electronics, telecommunications, biology, pharmacy, chemistry, or pharmacy, giving just some examples).

One major difference in Brazil is that there are no formal examination or regulation requirements for non-lawyer patent professionals, meaning that such professionals are regulated by the market and selected by law firms and institutions with reference to factors other than professional regulation.

Traditionally, it was common for the Brazilian patent lawyers to focus more on litigation, while patent professionals with a technical background worked on more technical aspects and correspondence with the BRPTO examiners. Today a more collaborative approach between different types of patent practitioners, and indeed other practice areas, has become an essential quality for developing modern protection strategies (such strategies are also becoming increasingly multi-jurisdictional).

In this changing environment, strong technical, human, organisational and conceptual skills are essential. Patent professionals have to deal with a wide range of legal, technical and scientific subjects, but must be able to do so in a clear and concise manner, that is free of legal and technical jargon. Furthermore, strong communication with clients and their technical teams is part of the daily practice routine. Since today most patent work in Brazil comes from foreign clients, it also requires a strong understanding of different markets, legal systems and business cultures.

Working with patent law brings you in contact with interesting work and innovation across many technical fields. In addition, the practice is increasingly becoming a collaborative endeavour where legal and non-legal professionals are required to work together and ‘think outside the box’.

We hope you that this information was useful for you. If you have any questions about this topic or want to find out more information about our services in IP and Technology in Brazil, please get in touch with us.

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