Gabriel Di Blasi
Since July 2013, it has been possible to electronically file patent applications or petitions against applications or existing patents at the Brazilian Patent Office (INPI).
Besides filing domestic applications, which had already been made available by the system – referred to as e-Patentes, launched in March 2013 – the user can now operate the system to: (i) send petitions related to applications/patents; ii) enter into the national phase of the PCT application; iii) file a recordal of assignment or change of name or address of a patent application or a patent; iv) submit a request for official copies; v) request accelerated examination; vi) present a statement regarding the access to Brazilian genetic resources, vii) request participation in the green patent programme or request a preliminary opinion on patentability; (viii) request the patent letter; and ix) submit the biologic sequence listing.
The e-Patentes system is based on the same platform used by the European Patent Office, and its interface is easy and quick to operate. The user can submit patent applications using e-Patentes, and within minutes the electronic filing protocol will be issued to indicate that the process was successful. As documents are all digitally signed by the attorney or agent responsible for the filing in Brazil, there is a high level of data encryption. The system is very safe and can be accessed anywhere.
It is worth mentioning that the costs for online filings are not the same as for paper filings. For example, for filing a patent application using the electronic system, an official fee of about US$88 is due, whereas a fee of approximately US$107 is due for a paper filing. Several procedures, such as office action responses and recordals of name and assignment, also benefit from an electronic filing discount. Only annuity payments and examination requests, for which no paper submission is currently available, are charged in full, without a discount for electronic filing.
Also, since 2012, the INPI has been developing new tools for facilitating and speeding up response times for requests of official information. One of these tools is e-Vista, which is used to publish all of the information on the prosecution of patent applications on the INPI website. The main purpose of this tool is to provide paperless procedures, which reduce internal costs at the INPI and the time for obtaining a patent.
For presenting biologic sequence listing, the user must submit it through SisBioList. This module was created to ensure that the applications comprising biologic sequence listing were analysed in a more efficient manner and to provide better protection for the claimed subject matter. In using such system, the applicant inputs a file containing the sequence listing in .txt format (in the WIPO ST.25 format), and some specific files are generated so that the examiners can make a prompt analysis.
The electronic system is still not available for industrial designs or computer program registrations.