Lack of BPTO examiners may compromise the patent backlog
Failure to hire new examiners for the BPTO (Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office) could compromise the technical decisions of the institute, and even jeopardize the patent backlog elimination, warned the president of BPTO, Cláudio Furtado, at the first plenary of Congress, attended also by the president of ABPI, Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, and the regional director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), José Graça Aranha.
According to Furtado, since 2014, when 210 examiners were hired, the BPTO has already lost another 362 professionals due to transfers to other bodies, deaths, and retirements”. Today, the BPTO’s main challenge is not Information Technology, the main battle is to restore the BPTO’s human capital”.
“The possible return to the patent backlog is of great concern”, said Montaury Pimenta, who during his tenure has discussed a solution to the problem. At the BPTO, the goal of eliminating, by July this year, 80% of the backlog – the stock of patent applications pending examination, had to be extended to the end of the year, in this case, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Furtado, the recent decision of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), declaring the unconstitutionality of the sole paragraph of art. 40 of the Brazilian Industrial Property Law (Law 9.279/96) – which provided for the extension of the term of a pharmaceutical patent in case of delay by the BPTO, also harmed the institute’s goals for this year concerning the applications for deposits of foreign patents.
The BPTO president commented on the BPTO’s financial autonomy, a former ABPI claim. “I want to say to the president of ABPI, Montaury Pimenta, that we are achieving this financial independence, even though there is no change in the law”. He informed that the BPTO started the year with a budget of R$ 47 million, but thanks to a joint management effort with the Ministry of Economy, this amount was increased to R$ 70 million.
To reinforce investment in IT, the president of the BPTO is pleading with the National Congress for an increase of R$ 20 million in the institute’s budget for next year. For Graça Aranha, the amount is low for the BPTO’s needs, and he recalled that the body’s financial autonomy is provided for in the Industrial Property Law. “We need to invest heavily because the world is going to change, a patent is going to be examined in three minutes”, he stated.