Opinion

Speeding up the patent process in Brazil

A recent Supreme Court decision altered rules for patents in Brazil. While causing some consternation, the country's patent office has worked hard to reduce its backlog, making the process increasingly faster and more straightforward

Left-wing protesters ask for Brazilian authorities to lift vaccine patents. Photo: Vinicius van Coolwijk/Shutterstock
Left-wing protesters ask for Brazilian authorities to lift vaccine patents. Photo: Vinicius van Coolwijk/Shutterstock

Brazilian laws governing patents have undergone a major change in recent months. Under previous rules, all patents in the country were valid for 20 years counting from the date of filing, or ten years from the date of approval — whichever comes last. This provision was originally brought in to mitigate the negative effects of delays in the patent analysis process, which in many cases can take well over ten years.

But this rule was challenged in a Supreme Court case and, in May, justices decided that the validity of patents ten years after approval was unconstitutional, essentially neutering the...

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