Trademark and patent offices adopt remote working in the pandemic
On June 30th, the speakers of ABPI’s promoted webinar “The IP Systems in the Americas During the Covid-19”, pointed out that electronic means and the suspension of deadlines were the resources most used by American and Latin American Patent Offices, including the BPTO – Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office, to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The speakers of the event were the presidents of ABPI, Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, and AMPPI — Mexican Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property — Erick Castillo Orive; the secretary of the Board of ACHIPI – — Chilean Intellectual Property Association — Rodrigo Puchi, the director of AAAPI — Argentine Association of Patent & Trademark Agents — Juan Berton Moreno and Ury Fischer, director of AIPLA, USA, who discussed under the mediation of ABPI’s director Valdir Rocha.
ABPI’s president made a positive assessment of the current functioning of the Brazilian IP system, even though the number of patent applications registered a reduction of 20%, while in trademarks the drop was 12%. He highlighted that, since Brazil joined the Madrid Protocol eight months ago, almost 5,500 trademark applications designating Brazil have been accounted for by this system, 1,500 from the USA, 1,400 from Europe, 450 from China, 175 from Japan and 120 from South Korea.
In Chile, the pandemic has little changed the local IP system. According to Pucchi, the country’s patent office was already implementing a project to operate on a digital platform, and when Covid-19 imposed restrictions on work, users were already familiar with the system. Nevertheless, patent and trademark applications registered a drop between 10% and 15%, estimates ACHIPI’s representative.
Fischer explained that, at the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office), most activities are done electronically. “The office has undertaken some deadline extensions, but all will expire until July 31st, and there should be no further extension”, he stated.
In Argentina, there were several deadline suspensions by the local patent office, which promised to meet AAAPI’s request for the adoption of a digital format for patent processes. The idea, according to Berton Moreno, is to start implementing the digitization of processes with patent applications filed as of November 2019.
The pandemic has been aggravated in Mexico, mainly in the capital, where IP specialized offices are concentrated. As a result, all deadlines have been suspended. AMPPI has been pressuring the authorities to make the system more flexible and resume some of the activities, but there is no forecast when the services will return to normal. According to Castillo, the patent office is working on a home office basis, but as it was not prepared for this, it has limited itself to answering questions from users.
Watch the full webinar on ABPI’s YouTube Channel.