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Breaking Ground: TCA Decision Sets Precedent in Uruguayan Intellectual Property

By Mariano Municoy, Head of Legal Department

In a seminal decision for intellectual property in Uruguay, the Contentious Administrative Court (TCA) has rendered a ruling that could significantly transform the patent landscape in the country. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of this groundbreaking case.

The patent landscape in Uruguay

In November 2023 the Uruguayan Contentious Administrative Tribunal (or “TCA” for its Spanish abbreviations), which is the authority of last resort on patent matters, ruled favorably an appeal handled by Moeller IP´s Legal Department seeking the reversal of a decision issued by the local Patent Office (Dirección Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial or “DNPI”) denying a patent application filed in 2005 by Bayer claiming a pharmaceutical composition. In order to understand the importance of this decision it is worth reviewing some facts related to the patent landscape in Uruguay, starting by recalling that the country is not a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Secondly, according to WIPO, the number of patent applications filed yearly therein has not been large at all, as fluctuated between 500 and 700 per year.

The Bayer case

Still, as this case shows (where the first substantive examination was conducted in 2016 so more than 10 years after filing)), applicants have faced huge delays to have their applications prosecuted and decided by the DNPI. In this particular case the DNPI issued its final administrative decision in 2020 denying the application due to a lack of inventive step, which was appealed by Bayer and during the procedure the TCA designated a local chemist expert with knowledge on patent law who issued his report informing the Tribunal why the application complied with all the patent requirements.

The implications of the decision

Based on this expert report supporting the patentability of the invention, the TDA accepted the arguments of our appeal and reversed the denying decision of the DNPI. Unfortunately, in Uruguay there is no formal procedure to seek compensation for unreasonable delays during the prosecution of patent applications but we are confident that such a request will likely be filed in future cases.

If you want to receive more information about this case or any other IP issue please do not hesitate to contact us.

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