Brazilian Patent Law Changes to Patent Term
Innovation Council is monitoring changes to the Brazilian Patent Law. The recent Supreme Court ruling, published on May 12, 2021, finding that the sole paragraph of Article 40 of the Brazilian IP Law, which granted a minimum patent term of 10 years from grant, was unconstitutional, has significant implications for patents related to pharmaceutical products and processes, as well as equipment and processes related to healthcare that were granted prior to May 12, 2021. Unlike all other patents granted prior to May 12, 2021, those excepted patents lose the benefit of a minimum patent term of 10 years from grant, and they will expire 20 years from their filing dates. All patents granted after May 12, 2021, will expire 20 years after their filing dates. Delays in the examination of patent applications and the grant of patents after more than 10 years from the filing dates will result in lesser terms of enforcement from those that were entitled to a minimum term of 10 years from grant.
Although the average pendency of patent applications is being steadily reduced by INPI, Brazilian patent applicants should take advantage of procedures implemented by INPI to accelerate the grant of patents and to maximize the term of enforcement of the patent. From an innovator perspective, the Brazilian legislature would do well to accelerate passage of the pending bill, which provides for extension of the patent term in the case of unreasonable delays in examination by INPI.
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Unprecedented: The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property
On 26 November the new research report about the role that intellectual property played in the development, manufacturing, and global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics was launched in Geneva. The report was co-authored by Innovation Council’s very own Jennifer Brant, and Prof. Mark Schultz.
The report, along with other materials including an executive summary is available here.
Addressing the IP Gender Gap
This series of virtual events will take a look at the IP gender gap in the Americas region. Political leaders, heads of IP offices, economists, and scholars will discuss how best to attract underrepresented groups to use the patent system, what data needs to be collected in order to understand the gap, and how to interpret new and existing data in order to develop solutions that will help close the gap.
The High-Level Policy panel will take place on 13 October, 5:30-6:30pm CET // 11:30am-12:30pm EDT // 8:30-9:30am PDT.
The IP Economist panel will take place on 14 October, 5-7pm CET // 11am-1pm EDT // 8-10am PDT.
Lack of diversity in patent holders means ‘half of the population’ isn’t getting needs met, economist Lisa Cook says
Diversity gaps in the U.S. patent system persist, in part, because of an absence of data on patent applicants. This lack of transparency has meant that patent holders are predominantly white, male and wealthy.
A recent study found that women, especially African-American and Latina women, obtain patents at significantly lower rates than men; people of color get approved for patents less often than white people; and individuals from lower-income families are less likely to acquire a patent than those who grew up in affluent families.
“Throughout history, women and underrepresented minorities have not been able to participate fully in each stage of the innovation process,” Lisa Cook, a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University.
The inclusion of these underrepresented groups would evidently also have a positive impact on the economy and would increase U.S. GDP by 2.7% per capita, and by roughly $1 trillion annually. The economic activity from patents is estimated to be over $8 trillion, more than one-third of U.S gross domestic product.
Gender gap in US patents leads to few inventions that help women
The economist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Rembrand Koning, reasoned that the relative scarcity of women’s health products on the market is due to a scarcity of women inventing them. A study published in June confirms this theory: few biotechnology patents are owned by women, and female inventors are significantly more likely than are male ones to patent health products for women.
Teams made up of all women, were 35% more likely than all-male teams to invent technologies relating to women’s health. But teams made up of all women or all men were equally likely to patent technologies for men’s health. If women and men had produced an equal number of patents since 1976, the researchers estimated, there would be 6,500 more female-focused inventions today.
Panelists Discuss Why Patent Waiver Would Not Accelerate Global Vaccine Distribution
At a panel held in June by The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), two vaccine scientists, Professor Robin Shattock (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Anne Moore (University College Cork) discussed their thoughts on why a patent waiver related to COVID-19 vaccines would not speed up vaccine distribution in lower income countries.
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EPO announces winners of the European Inventor Award 2021
The European Patent Office’s European Inventor Award 2021, which took place on June 17th, celebrated outstanding inventors and inventor teams from Europe and beyond.
At the ceremony, the winners were announced for each of the five categories: Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries, and Lifetime Achievement. These winners were selected by an independent, international jury. The public was also invited to vote for their favourite inventor from among the 15 finalists in the Popular Prize.
Spotlight on South Africa: 10 Questions for Biovac’s Patrick Tippoo
Innovation Council sat down with Patrick Tippoo, the Head of Science and Innovation at The Biovac Institute in South Africa to learn more about its activities and innovations. Established in 2003 in Cape Town, Biovac was created to distribute, manufacture, and develop vaccines and biologics for Southern Africa. Patrick, who has been with Biovac since its establishment, has more than 30 years in the industry.
The Long Wait for Innovation: The Global Patent Pendency Problem
Mark Schultz and Kevin Madigan write in their informative, and still very pertinent, 2016 paper about patent pendency issues and the reasons for, and possible solutions to, the problem. Many patent offices simply lack sufficient examiners to handle the increasing volume of patent applications, and there are deficiencies in both processes and infrastructure. One possible solution is increasing the number and qualification of examiners; many countries are already prioritizing the hiring of new examiners to tackle patent delay and backlog problems. Work sharing is another option. Patents are increasingly filed in multiple jurisdictions, and this duplication creates the opportunity to share work or expedite applications that have already been granted by recognized jurisdictions. Yet another proposed solution is the removal of obstacles to final grants. Some countries insert additional procedures and reviews in between application and grant: India, for example, has a redundant pre-grant opposition procedure, while Brazil subjects pharmaceutical patent applications to double review by both its patent office and its drug regulator. Such procedures should be re-considered in light of the substantial cost of the delays they introduce, and, where they are redundant, they should be eliminated.