January 4, 2021
Concerning the ongoing Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program between the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI), the number of PPH requests that an applicant has been allowed to file with the INPI has been limited to one per month. However, form January 1, 2021, an applicant will be allowed to file one PPH request per week with the INPI.
Brazil, which boasts the largest economy and population in South America, is home to many Japanese companies that are developing businesses. However, the patent examination procedures in place at the INPI often require six years on average between receiving an application and issuing a notice of the result.
In light of this situation, on April 1, 2017, the JPO and the INPI started the PPH pilot program (*1) and since then many Japanese companies have made use of the program. Under this program, applicants are able to dramatically shorten the period before receiving the examination results from the INPI to about six months on average which represents a significant improvement in obtaining Brazilian patents.
Nevertheless, as the INPI limited the number of PPH requests that it accepts from each applicant to 1 application per month, the JPO, considering the request from PPH users, has requested that the INPI relax its limitation.
Details of the relaxation (from January 1, 2021)
From January 1, 2021, the limitation in the number of PPH requests that the INPI accepts will be relaxed as below.
- Relaxing the number of PPH requests per applicant
The number of PPH requests that an applicant is allowed to file with the INPI is to be relaxed from the current one per month to one per week.
- Relaxing the upper limit on the number of PPH requests
The upper limit on the number of PPH requests filed with the INPI, including those filed from countries other than Japan, is to be relaxed from 400 per year to 600 per year, an increase of 50%.
These relaxations of the number limitations on PPH requests will allow applicants to smoothly obtain more patent rights that they need in developing their businesses in Brazil.