Event discusses assignments of IP institutes of the future

Representatives of the Brazilian PTO participated in the 20th Congress of the Inter-American Intellectual Property Association (ASIPI), in Rio de Janeiro.
The BPTO Executive Director, Mauro Maia, participated in a panel on models of IP institutes of the future. The panel, which was attended by representatives of Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Guatemala, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, discussed the possibility of IP institutes to add Industrial Property and Copyright Services, as well as actions to combat unfair competition and infringements in the field of IP.
In the vision of the INPI of the future, the executive director visualizes an institution that is an agency and brings together Industrial Property and Copyright. In this way, it would be possible to improve the coordination of actions in the IP area and stimulate awareness of the issue in society.
The executive director also stated that this future agency, with a larger structure than the current one, should act in intelligence (development of strategic studies and public policies in IP), promotion in this area and regulation.

*Translated and adapted from the BPTO’s official web page. You can find the original publication (in Portuguese) here

Brazilian PTO releases sector study on biotechnology patents

The Division of Studies and Projects of BPTO’s Patents Department has made available a further sectoral study entitled “Categorization of biotechnology patents based on the International Patent Classification and analysis of the patent filing scenario in this sector in Brazil (2012-2016) “.

The study compared the concepts of biotechnology based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) codes used by WIPO and OECD and suggested a new classifications group, including some areas of biotechnology that had not previously been covered.

It also presents a categorization of biotechnology in 12 areas, making it possible to search in a structured way the patent documents in biotechnology in a comprehensive or more specialized way. Once the proposed set of IPCs has been validated, it has been used to search the patent documents related to biotechnology filed at the BPTO in recent years, and thus to present an overview of the patenting in biotechnology in Brazil, indicating the main characteristics of these patent applications as , for example, the main applicants and the areas of biotechnology with the greatest interest in patent protection in the country.

In this study, the analysis of biotechnology patenting in Brazil between 2012 and 2016 showed that the categories of greatest interest for obtaining patent protection in the country were “medicinal preparations containing peptides” (498 documents), “fermentation” processes ( 439 documents), “peptides containing more than 20 amino acids” (261 documents), “measurement and assay involving enzymes or microorganisms” (253 documents); “Immunoassays” (198 documents) and “biological treatment of water, sewage, sludge and sludge” (151 documents).

The study also indicates a greater participation of national depositors in the biotechnology patenting scenario in Brazil, demonstrating that the development of research and innovation in biotechnology in the country is a relatively recent activity and almost 75% of all patents licensed in Brazil come from universities and research centers in Brazil.

*Translated and adapted from the BPTO’s official web page. You can find the original publication (in Portuguese) here.

Qualcomm may be forced to license patents to their competers

According to The Verge, Qualcomm has suffered a major setback in a lawsuit that probes possible attempts to block competition in the US mobile market. A federal court in the United States has ruled that the company must license its modem patents to compete with chipmakers, potentially weakening a possible monopoly formation in the smartphone modem segment.

The case, in the hands of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 2017 analyses whether Qualcomm, working only with the supply of parts and not with the licensing of its technologies, acts to prevent the advanced competition. The decision itself does not specifically address this issue, but under the ruling, Qualcomm would be disregarding agreements related to mobile phone standards, which were accepted only because the company agreed that it would license such technologies to all interested parties.   It shows that the US government begins to take steps to avoid a dominance of the sector by the manufacturer.

Names such as Intel, Huawei and Samsung are nominally cited in the process as examples of companies to which Qualcomm must license the technologies “needed to manufacture a smartphone modem.” To date, such companies have been limited to licensing ancillary patents and should work only on supply agreements while, if interested in creating their own solutions, they should find an alternative path to that registered by the rival.

This decision is good news to the industry, since it could enable more companies to build modems or for those modems to be more competitive than today.

There is still appeal against the decision and Qualcomm has not ruled on the matter. Despite the negative news for the company, the federal court has not determined a maximum amount that can be charged for patents, another matter related to the ongoing process by the FTC.

It is not the first time that Qualcomm has been convicted of anti-competitive practices, but the ruling is unprecedented as to the influence of a regulatory body on corporate practices. Earlier, she had already been fined in the European Union, China, Taiwan, and North Korea for violating antitrust rules; currently faces similar disputes not only with governments from different territories but also with Apple.

Source: The Verge

Broadcom takes Volkswagen to court in $1bi patent claim

According to the German Magazine “Der Spiegel”, the U.S. semiconductor supplier Broadcom has made a patent claim for more than $1 billion against Volkswagen and is threatening to seek a judicial ban on the production of several car models, such as Golf, Passat, Touran, Tiguan and various models of Porsche and Audi.

The patent suit has been filed by the US company in Munich and Mannheim and it concerns the use of a total of 18 of his patents in navigation and entertainment systems, which the VW Group uses in several car models, according to the claim.

Broadcom has also began a legal action in the US against the Japanese Toyota and Panasonic, among other companies, for alleged patent infringement . Affected companies are under great pressure to agree with the supplier before courts decide. These could provisionally prohibit the use of the corresponding semiconductors and thus bring production to a standstill.

Bank of America granted blockchain patent

Bank of America, the second largest bank in the US with over 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain-related patents to their name, has received the grant of a patent that allows the bank to set up a digital storage for private Keys. The patent was filed by the bank in September 2016 and was awarded to them on October 30, 2018.

The bank is among the biggest players in the US when it comes to filing patents related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Titled ‘Systems and devices for hardened remote storage of private cryptography keys used for authentication’, this patent talks about a ‘tamper-responsive’ remote storage of private Keys as can be seen in the extract below:

“[While many […] devices may provide for acquiring evidence of a security breach (i.e., physical or non-physical tampering with the device and/or the data), such devices do not provide for a real-time response to such breaches, such that misappropriation of private cryptography keys is prevented,” BoA writes. The patent filing continues: “Therefore, a need exists for a secure means for storing private cryptography keys. The desired storage means should reduce the risk of misappropriation of keys due to the keys being stored internally within a computing node that is frequently or, in some instances, continuously accessible via a public communication network, such as the Internet.”

The banking giant has sought several patents in the past few months, these relating variously to external validation, data storage, and others. At the same time, officials have remained skeptical of cryptocurrency itself, banning credit card customers from purchasing it while admitting Bitcoin (BTC) represented a “troubling” issue for its operations.

While this patent does sound quite useful, it is not guaranteed that the bank will bring it to reality, since it is common that companies file patents to secure a technology but very rarely acted upon the patents, especially in the world of cryptocurrencies, where patents are abundant but are rarely used.

Public Consultation: Geographical Indications

The Brazilian PTO is receiving public comments on the draft of the Normative Instruction that will establish the conditions for the registration of Geographical Indications. The notice was published in the Official Bulletin of November 6, 2018.

Interested parties have a period of 30 days to send the suggestions to the e-mail consultapublicaig@inpi.gov.br, through specific form only.

The rules of filling out and sending the form are the following:

1) The comments referring to each article must be inserted in the corresponding field of the form and deal specifically with the subject matter of that article;

2) Comments referring to articles which subject matter is strictly administrative and which do not deal with the examination of the registration of geographical indications must be subject to possible textual inconsistencies or inaccuracies of the draft;

3) Comments submitted after the deadline, by other means or different to what is stipulated in the above rules, will not be considered.

After the deadline, the BPTO will present the proposals received during the public consultation and the final text of the Normative Instruction.

The official form (in Portuguese) can be downloaded here.

*Translated and adapted from the BPTO’s official web page. The original publication (in Portuguese) can be found here.

Rule #227 provides for the use of Other Offices technical search to speed up examinations

The Brazilian PTO published on October 30, 2018, the Rule #227/2018 that intends to accelerate examination of patent applications filed for more than 10 years using the results of technical search provided by Patent Offices of other countries from International or Regional Organizations.

Considering the urgency in decisions of patent applications instated for 10 years or more and as a means of reducing social losses resulting from the extension of the term of patents as in Article 40,  single paragraph, of Law n°9279 from 1996 (IPL);

Considering that the result of anteriorities search provided by Patent Offices from other countries, from International or Regional Organizations, can be used to speed up the technical decisions of the Brazilian Patent and Trademarks Office;

This resolution rules the analysis of pending patent of invention examination, using the result of anteriorities search realized in Patent Offices o other countries, from International or Regional Organizations.

This measure is applicable to applications that:

i) Have not been submitted to the first technical examination of the BPTO;
ii) Have not been requested any priority examination of any kind of the BPTO;

iii) Have not been requested subsidies of examination or ANVISA subsidies; and

iv) Have the corresponding request with anteriority search provided by Patent Offices of other countries, from International or Regional Organizations;

In case the patent application fulfill all requirements of this resolution, the Brazilian Patent Office will issue an office action named “pre-examination” asking for the following:

i) Search Report containing the anteriority documents cited in the search or technical examination provided by other Patent Offices from other countries, from International or Regional Organizations; and

ii) Request of the applicant to adjust the application or the submission of arguments as to the requirements for patentability, according to the documents mentioned in the Search Report.

In the case of adjustment results a higher number of claims compared to the claims mentioned in the first examination request, it is necessary to complement the payment of the examination fees.

 After the office action publication, the applicant will have 60 days to reply to it. 

In case the BPTO does not receive the corresponding reply during this period, the application will be extinct. 

In case the BPTO receives the corresponding reply, the BPTO will proceed with the examination.

In case the BPTO receives the reply with adjustment, it must respect the specific regulations.

In the occasion of technical examination, the Search Report mentioned in this resolution will correspond to the Search Report provided by Article 35 of Brazilian IP Law without any loss of complementary searches. 

The original Portuguese version of Rule #227/2018 is available here