February 26, 2020

IP cooperation extended: US, Mexico, Austria and Brazil

With a number of changes, amendments and revisions having already taken place at the beginning of the year, there were none establishing new cooperations between the IP offices. The United States and Mexico, alongside Austria and Brazil, are the first to create new arrangements in 2020.

The United States and Mexico cooperation

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) concluded an agreement that will allow for faster patent examination in Mexico, provided there is a corresponding US patent granted for the same invention. The agreement was signed on January 28, 2020, providing IMPI with the possibility of referring to previous search and examination conducted by the USPTO.

In its official publication, IMPI stressed that through this arrangement they will be able to use their human resources to the fullest. The examination timeline will be shortened due to the use of USPTO results, and Mexican examiners will move their focus to working with national applications, thus promoting national innovation. In turn, the reduced timing for examination will benefit businesses and individual applicants who have already obtained US patents.

Austria and Brazil PPH agreement

On February 1, 2020, Austria and Brazil entered into a Patent Prosecution Highway Agreement. Similarly to other PPH agreements, it provides a framework allowing for the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) to rely upon the patent examination results of the Austrian Patent Office.

The agreement brings substantial advantages to Austrian companies that are engaged in the export of goods and services to Brazil, with an annual turnover of approximately one billion euros.

This move by the INPI Brazil can be considered as yet another step towards mitigating the patent backlog, whilst expanding and supporting business cooperation between the two countries.

Collaborations between IP offices encourage a higher level of confidence in applicants as to the outcome of their applications, thus contributing to an influx in filings and an improved IP landscape.

Author: Lynda Miller