Joint Communique Between U.S. and Brazil on Patent Work Sharing
Guest blog by Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter
Under the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue IPR working group, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) have a long history of working together to exchange best practices aimed at capacity building and reducing each country’s patent backlogs. During President Rousseff’s visit to the United States on June 30, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and the Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry & Foreign Trade (MDIC) Armando Monteiro signed a Joint Statement on Patent Work Sharing. This agreement is part of broader government-wide efforts to expand trade and investment with Brazil and is something the private sector has been urging both governments to adopt for some time. The USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) and the International Trade Administration’s Brazil Desk facilitated the completion of this Joint Statement.
The Joint Statement emphasizes the importance and value of work sharing to improve efficiency in the patent application process—a benefit to patent applicants as well as patent offices. For applicants, work sharing facilitates the granting of patent rights and reduces the cost of obtaining patent protection in multiple jurisdictions. For patent offices, work-sharing mechanisms are effective in grappling with increased workload demands, leading to improved efficiencies in patent examination practice. More broadly, patent work sharing will help boost the economic growth and development of both the United States and Brazil.
At the White House, President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff issued a Joint Communique which specifically referenced the Joint Statement, and recognized each country’s work sharing potential. The Joint Communique is an important milestone for the USPTO. It emphasizes the importance of intellectual property in bilateral discussions with partner nations, while highlighting the central role OPIA serves in providing expert IP advice to the various branches of the U.S. government, as well as the patent offices of foreign governments.
Pursuant to the goals outlined in the Joint Statement, OPIA is now working closely with counterpart officials in the Brazilian patent office -- the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) -- to establish a technical framework for a future patent work-sharing program between the two offices. We hope to finalize an agreement on such a work-sharing program by the end of summer.