Over the past month, the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (“BPTO”) has stoked optimistic regarding its Patent Backlog Combat Plan. Unlike its former “simplified” procedure for granting patent applications—which was publicly criticized for disrupting legal security because it enabled the granting of patents for non-examined inventions—the new plan was received enthusiastically by various industry sectors.
As promised, the BPTO has already started to put the plan in motion, publishing the office action established by Resolution No. 241/2019, which requires that owners of patent applications for which searches were conducted in international patent offices reply to these searches to expedite the examination proceeding. Over the past three weeks, 3,711 office actions have already been issued, all of them published in the IP Gazette (“RPI”):
- RPI No. 2533 (July/23/2019): 932 office actions;
- RPI No. 2534 July/30/2019): 1,527 office actions; and
- RPI No. 2535 (August/06/2019): 1,252 office actions.
If the BPTO maintains this pace, over 20,000 office actions could be issued by the end of the year. It is expected that these office actions will indeed enable the BPTO to expedite the remaining administrative proceedings and could effectively eliminate the patent backlog, either by archiving, granting or denying them in a final decision.
How well the BPTO plan addresses the backlog, the upcoming months will tell.
Furthermore, the BPTO still has not started applying Resolution No. 240/2019 – even though it has been in force since August 1, 2019. This resolution is directed at patents that do not have an international counterpart for which a prior art search has been conducted.