By José Santacroce, Partner, and Head of Patent Department
EPO and INPI co-operation
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI) have agreed to work towards enhancing their co-operation. EPO President António Campinos and Claudio Vilar Furtado, President of INPI, signed on 22 July 2019 a Joint Statement in this direction following a bi-lateral consultation that formed part of a series of meetings between the EPO and IP offices from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. They also signed an agreement renewing the INPI’s access to EPOQUE Net, the EPO’s dedicated patent searching tool that contains more than 1.3 billion database entries.
Memorandum of Understanding
In their Joint Statement, the two Heads of Office agreed to work together towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a pilot project aimed at strengthening the INPI’s capacity for searching and examining patent applications.
President Campinos underlined the importance of co-operation with INPI: “I am pleased to sign this Joint Statement today. As traditionally, Brazil has been an important co-operation partner for the EPO in Latin America. The INPI has great expertise in the patent grant procedure, and with today’s signatures we are paving the way to a closer relationship between our offices, benefitting businesses from both regions.”
President Furtado echoed these sentiments: “The INPI welcomes with enthusiasm the enhancement of the partnership with the EPO. This is an essential step in the modernization of the Institute, a pillar of Brazilian development, to make it a world-class protagonist in industrial property”.
The co-operation between the EPO and Brazil’s INPI started in 2000 with a first technical co-operation project between both offices. This was followed by a number of bilateral agreements enhancing the co-operation to include granting the INPI access to EPOQUE Net (in 2005) and, in 2017, a joint Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme, that allows patent applicants to request accelerated treatment of their applications pending at the EPO and the INPI.
The EPO’s Strategic Plan recognizes that co-operation within Europe and with partners outside of the EPO’s member states has been a contributing factor to economic success. Therefore, as envisioned through several initiatives laid out in the Plan, the Office will continue to reinforce its network through agreements such as the ones concluded between the EPO and INPI.