New legal framework for start-ups sets its sights on intellectual property
The Brazilian National Congress has approved a new legal framework for start-ups with a particular focus on IP provisions. Complementary Law 182/2021 was sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro – with vetoes – and published on 2 June.
This legislation originates from the Complementary Law Project 249/2020 (appended to the Complementary Law Project 146/2019), namely the Legal Framework for Start-ups and Innovative Entrepreneurship, which aims to recognise start-ups as important entities for the country's socioeconomic and environmental development, establishing principles and parameters for their creation and consolidation.
It institutes important measures to encourage entrepreneurship and investment in start-ups by seeking to create a favourable regulatory environment for innovative companies. For instance, a differentiated and experimental regulatory regime has been established (eg, the regulatory sandbox) to allow companies to develop innovative business, test technologies and launch products with less bureaucracy. The legislation also establishes investment modalities and rules for the government to engage with start-ups in public tenders, and addresses tax issues.
With regard to intellectual property, the new legislation has a direct impact on trademarks and patents held by start-ups. It institutes a simplified regime for registering trademark applications and granting patent applications filed by start-ups before the Brazilian National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI). This simplified regime was launched by the Inova Simples programme (Complementary Law 167/2019). Setting up a start-up and filing trademark and patent applications will be carried out through a specific portal – the National Network for Simplifying the Registration and Legalisation of Companies and Businesses, with such applications given priority examination. The innovative content of a start-up will then be passed on to INPI through this communication channel, which is not yet available online. The objective is to reduce the examination, registration and grant time for trademark and patent applications, thus enabling a faster decision-making process in relation to the development of new products and services.
In relation to patents, INPI was already ahead of this new legislation – in July 2020 it regulated the priority examination of patent applications filed by companies that fall into the Inova Simples classification (Resolution 247/2020). This priority examination programme is one of several fast-track procedures that have been established by INPI in the past years to accelerate the examination and grant of patent applications. Other examples of applications eligible for fast-track examination are those that:
- Are filed by SMEs or science/technology institutions;
- cover green technologies;
- fall under a Patent Prosecution Highway agreement;
- are for the treatment of specific diseases, including covid-19 treatment.
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