In March 2017, the Uruguayan government sent a draft law to Parliament to become a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is now being discussed before proceeding to vote.

In 2016, the Uruguayan Patent Office (National Directorate of Industrial Property) organized different activities and events to promote and disseminate info regarding the PCT system. Moreover, in previous years, the Uruguayan government had expressed on several occasions its intention to join the PCT. However, until now the necessary steps have not been taken to finally become a PCT member.

The draft highlights the advantages of the PCT system for both applicants and patent offices. For applicants, filing a patent application under the PCT simplifies the process and reduces costs, allows delay of prosecution, and provides the applicant with an international search report, a useful indication of the prior art related to the application.

Regarding the advantages for the national patent offices, the draft points out that PCT applications are easier to process, since formalities already have been assessed during the international phase. Additionally, when a PCT application enters the national phase, the corresponding national office has access to valuable reports from international search authorities, which facilitates the substantive examination stage.

The draft law stresses the fact that the adhesion to the PCT will not increase the number of filed patent applications in Uruguay: the general tendency shows that there is an initial decrease, due to the delay in entering the national phase, which subsequently increases up to the number of applications in the same range as before the implementation of the PCT system.

Additionally, the draft law emphasizes that the implementation of the PCT system willinterfere neither with Uruguayan sovereignty – since each office applies its internal patentability criteria – nor with the use of TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement flexibilities.


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