Brazil: Analysis Of International Patents And The Global Economy

Last Updated: 17 October 2016
Article by Rafael Freire

The number of patent applications applied for by each country   is a good indication  of the level of innovation of the movement of the economy.  The investment in   Research and Development  of companies of all sizes and universities proves the degree of productivity  of a nation.    Hence, a good indication  of comparison among countries  is the number of filings of patent applications  via  PCT Treaty  (Patent Cooperation Treaty),  which is a special relevant index,  when comparing developing and emerging countries.  

PCT is an International Treaty  with 145 Contracting States,  enabling the protection of the same invention in several countries upon filing a sole application. The initial filing is made  at the   World  Organization of the Intellectual Property or at  Regional Agency with the same function  of International Authority.  Its main advantage  for he who needs  an international protection  to its invention is the reduced initial cost.  Inasmuch as the patent application  is valid, prima facie,  to all the countries signatory  to the Treaty,  the rate paid for the filing of the international application   is the sole initial investment.  However, later, it is necessary to file the PCT International  Application  in  the so called national phases of the countries,  members of the Treaty,  where it is of interest to protect the invention.  At this stage, the rates must also be paid, involving the submittal of the filing and prosecution of each application in each country  respectively, under local registration.

Taking into consideration the economic impact of the innovation   and the number of patents filed under the PCT  Treaty,    it is possible to make some interesting analyses of each country  and its participation in  the global  economy.    The data of the number  of PCT  Applications  each Country  applied for  can be easily gathered from  an  initial consultation  on the World Organization of the Indu-strial Property´s  site.  

The greatest Economy in the World

The researchers and North American Companies  filed 13,036 patent applications overseas   over the  first quarter of 2016.   Over the whole semester, the applications filed  amounted to 17,799, including the applications  applied for internationally under the PCT.  The United Sates with a Gross Domestic Product  (GDP)  of US$ 17,94 trillion holds a number of patent applications applied for with  the World Intellectual Property Organization much higher  than the country  having the first  GDP  in the world, China.

The Asiatic Country, of which the GDP  reached – in  2015 – an amount above Us$19,3 trillion  (almost two trillion above the one of the United States),  filed 10,387 patent applications through the first half-year  of 2016.   The variation between the first  and the second half-year  is considerable: from January through March 7,865 applications were filed.  On the other hand from April through June,  the filings reached 2,522.  Curiously,  over the first  three months of 2016,  the growth   rate of  the country was the lowest since 2009,  with an increase of 6,7%.

The difference between the Chinese Gross Domestic Product  and the  total patents filed by the country   reflects an industrial transition  in its economy.   For many years now,    the  indices of growth  have been supported by the industries  performing its business  in Special Economic Zones,  the majority of them   manufacturing products by transfer of technology  from North American, European and Chinese Companies.    Little by little,  there occurs a change of this industrialization mode,   with investment in Research & Development  and,  therefore,  the  increase of the number of patents internationally filed.   An instance of such a transformation   can be found in the Company Foxconn,  which is the greatest outsourced producer  of information science components,  having, nowadays ,  over forty two thousand   applications filed  via  PCT Treaty.

Brazil  and the Emerging Countries

In compensation,  Brazil  is moving much behind  the two greatest economy in the world.  With only just 161 patent applications  applied for via PCT Treaty   over the first half-year of 2016  - with 120  over the first quarter  and 41 in the second  - the number of filings  does not amount to even 10% out  of the China number.  In comparison,  the Brazilian GDP  has fallen for  more than five quarters,  a retroaction of 3,8% from 2015 and 2014.

The numbers of economy of the countries show interesting differences in the numbers of PCT applications in proportion  to their GDP,  when making an analysis, taking into consideration the emerging countries. Brazil,  even with a recession of over one year,  ranks seven in the world economy.    Its position on the market of the Intellectual Property, however, is not  so much behind India, ranking third in the GDP   with 7,9 trillion, which, in the same half-year of 2016, filed 480 applications.  On the other hand,  Russia, with the sixth greatest GDP in the world  (US$3.7 trillion) filed only just more than Brazil.

Particularly, respecting India, it is interesting to raise some comments.  Regarded as a   technological granary, it is surprising to note the low number of PCT applications  in comparison with the GDO.   The greatest software programs in the world,     we cannot but query  whether the  Indian Researchers lack  the culture of the international patent  for its computer programs.  The International Patent Treaty  of the  World Intellectual Property  Organization  shows in its  text  predictions  permitting its software program patents to be incorporated in its ambit.

On the other hand, in respect  of the Brazilian participation  in the International System of the Intellectual Property, it is well to say that it is an  alternative  for those companies aiming at the internationalization in mid-term.  Even though the  mindset is not  so common among our companies,   it begins to be more usual among startups,   which perceive  that its technology   can be applied to any country.   Furthermore,  the PCT many a time is an alternative  for the opinions from the BPTO (Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office),  which, usually, take some years.

This statistics shows that the United States is still the country which  most endeavors  to register international patents, whereas   the Emerging States  must  yet strive to implement the innovation of their territories,  both in the companies  and inside the universities.  Brazil, even moving behind the United States and China,  is close to Russia, which neglected  its innovating  attractive,  in view of geopolitical reasons -  ever since the end of the Soviet Union.  India, in turn,  seems not to work  the whole potential of its innovating  researchers – especially in the information technology area, in which the country enjoys a good reputation. 

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