By Karina Daiha and Andre Venturini

In a recent article, we analysed a study by the Brazilian Patent Office (INPI) on the categorization of biotechnology patent documents based on international patent classification, also presenting an analysis of patent filing in this sector in Brazil between 2012 and 2016.

Last week, a new study was released by the INPI, assessing patent applications in the biotechnology sector filed by national applicants between 2010 and 2016. The aim was to ascertain the demand for a Brazilian institution that serves as a depository for biological material under the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure which entered into force in 1980.

According to the results obtained in the study, the national demand for a Brazilian depository authority is considered low and therefore the construction and maintenance of a centre only for this purpose would not be justified. Only 2.15% of said patent applications are connected to a deposit of biological material in an international depository authority (IDA).

Among the applications that indicate the deposition of biological material in an IDA, 19 relate to bacterial strains, 8 relate to yeast strains, 6 to strains of fungi and only 1 to protozoal and 1 to cell line respectively.

Most interesting, is that, in reaching this conclusion, the study gives us a thorough analysis of Brazilian biotechnology patent activity. There are around 338 bioscience companies and 240 biotechnology companies operating in Brazil. Of these, 60% are still small companies (around 10 employees and operating for less than 10 years).

When it comes to patent filings, around 220 biotech related applications are filed by nationals every year, with a total of 1583 applications from 2010 to 2016. The distribution of these applications in relation to the areas of biotechnology covered is shown in Figure 1. (click on the image).  

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Figure 1. The applications related to biotechnology found in the study are divided in twelve areas, the biggest of them being microorganisms, enzymes and compositions. 

Similarly to other areas, universities are leading the number of filings – there are 14 universities among the top 20 applicants.

These numbers shed light on the fact that the biotechnology developed in Brazil relies on scientific activity in universities and institutes, while the Brazilian biotech companies are still new and small. The timid participation of nationals in the IP system may also be explained by the historical lack of IP awareness in the country.

If you would like more information on the above subject or about our work with patents in Brazil, please get in touch with us here.