Last July 19th, 2016, the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) published the most recent batch of patent applications allowed to the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). As of now, the program has allowed eleven (11) patent applications, and two (2) have already been granted by the BPTO in a record timing: 2 and a half months from the date of acceptance in the program. Patent applicants who benefited from the program include Sun Coke Technology and Development LLC, Afton Chemical Corporation, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and Baker Hughes Incorporated. Currently, the average time for a patent to be granted by the BPTO in this industry sector is of 10,1 years.

As mentioned in our alert of January 7, 2016, this pilot PPH program was initiated on January 11, 2016, and aims at prioritizing the examination of patent applications belonging to the same family of applications that already received the notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). At this time, it will only benefit in Brazil patent applications filed after January 2013, with subject matter strictly related to the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries (IPC B01, B063, C09k8, C10, E02, E021, F15, F16, F17 e G01).

The USPTO has not made any similar restrictions as to the area of technology of the patent applications that may benefit from the program. However, at the USPTO's end, only two Brazilian patent applications have been expedited to date. This is particularly due to the fact that the BPTO has currently an approximate backlog of 10-15 years. Therefore, it is unlikely that the BPTO will issue a patent before a patent for the same family is granted in the U.S.

To participate in the program, the applicant must fill in a specific form and comply with the main specific requirements mentioned. In addition, a specific official fee applies. This pilot phase will have term after two years or when each country has analyzed 150 patent applications, whichever occurs first.

Our Patent Team will be happy to provide you with any additional information you may need.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.