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The electronic means and the suspension of deadlines were the most used resources by the American and Latin American patent offices to face the Covid-19 pandemic, pointed out on Tuesday, 30, the participants of the webinar “IP systems in the Americas during Covid-19 ”promoted by ABPI – Brazilian Intellectual Property Association. The presidents of ABPI, Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, and AMPPI – Asociación Mexicana for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Erick Castillo Orive, participated; the secretary of the Board of ACHIPI – Asociación Chilena de la Propiedad Intellectual, Rodrigo Puchi, the director of AAAPI – Asociación Argentina de Agentes de La Propiedad Industrial, Juan Berton Moreno, and Ury Fischer, director of AIPLA – American Intellectual Property Law Association, who debated under the mediation of ABPI director, Valdir Rocha.

The president of ABPI made a positive assessment of the current functioning of the Brazilian IP system, despite the pandemic, the number of patent filings having registered a reduction of 20%, while in Marcas the drop was of 12%. He pointed out that eight months ago, since Brazil joined the Madrid Protocol, almost 5,500 brand deposits have been registered in the country, 1,500 from the USA, 1,400 from Europe, 450 from China, 175 from Japan and 120 from South Korea “The Brazilian INPI has been working quite well since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Montaury Pimenta, announcing that ABPI is launching the “Patent of the Year in the Covid-19 Area” award, which will be presented to the winner during the Congress of the ABPI in 2020.

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. “The situation in Chile is well resolved,” he said. Even so, trademark and patent filings registered a fall, between 10% and 15%, estimates the representative of ACHIPI.

At the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), explained Fischer, most activities are done electronically. “The office has made some extension of deadlines, but all will expire until July 31 and there should be no further extension,” he said. According to him, although most of the cases are being made on paper, federal courts are operating virtually, especially for trials, depositions and hearings. “There will be a lot of accumulation of lawsuits,” he predicted.

In Argentina, there were several term suspensions, the last one being extended to July 17. The local patent office promised to comply with the AAAPI application, which requested the adoption of a digital format for patents. The idea, according to Berton Moreno, is to start this process with patent applications filed in November 2019. “We have had a very long period of lockdown, but the office has been working electronically,” explained the AAAPI representative.

In Mexico, the pandemic has intensified, 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 reopen some of the activities, but there is no forecast when 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. The good news is that, recently, the firm started to operate with litigation procedures, provided that they are consulted. There are already 300 consultations. “At least litigation is advancing in the Mexican office,” said the AMPPI representative.