Patent backlog reduction by 80% is close
In July 2019, when BPTO President Claudio Furtado announced that in two years the stock of more than 150 thousand patent applications pending examination would be reduced by 80%, the market needed to see it to believe it. Difficult to solve, the elimination of the patent backlog, an old ABPI claim, has challenged several administrations of the institute. Today, six months before the deadline, with the patent backlog reduced to 75 thousand applications, the BPTO is close to fulfilling the promise.
The reduction, so far, of half of the patent backlog, already represents an effective gain for companies and the entire intellectual property system. “What we celebrate is not only the number of 75 thousand cases that we were able to decide but the reduction of billions of Brazilian reais (BRL) in cost for the Brazilian society”, stated the BPTO’s president. Due to the backlog and other operational deficiencies of the institute, which are gradually being considered, a patent application took an average of more than 10 years to be examined. Today, this period has been gradually reduced. “The term for granting a patent in Brazil has indeed fallen a lot, but it is still high by international standards and we believe that this term will continue to drop”, points out Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, ABPI’s president.
The solution to the patent backlog problem becomes more relevant in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which demanded the suspension of procedural deadlines from March 16th to May 31st last year. However, with the adoption of a home office system for its employees, the BPTO not only maintained its activities but also raised the average productivity of patent examiners by approximately 40%, well above the target set.
Led by the Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications Board of the BPTO (DIRMA), the Fight against Backlog Plan was also supported by important initiatives taken by previous administrations. As the current management acknowledges, the work of reducing the stock of patent applications pending examination was “oiled up” by measures such as the beginning of the digitization of processes in 2000 and 2008, the “Paperless BPTO” project in 2011, the beginning of the electronic filing of patent applications and other services in 2013, the experience of telecommuting in 2016. Including the focus on productivity, from the previous management which enabled the hiring of a fair number of servers who were in the backup register.