By Julian Cornelius

Over the last years, Brazil has significantly invested in its start-up industry. This can be seen in the creation of incubators, accelerators, technology parks, grant programs and financing. Indeed, since 2018, Brazil has a number of so called “Unicorn” start–ups, among them 99 Taxis, Nubank, PagSeguro, Stone, Movile, and iFood.

In a recent study released in May 2019, the INPI (the Brazilian Patent Office) evaluated the use of the different IP protection mechanisms by Brazilian start-ups, by surveying the number of patent filings, industrial design registrations, trademarks, computer programs, integrated circuit topography and technology transfer agreements within the INPI’s databases. It also sought to identify the main economic areas of such companies, using an up to date list of 2,478 companies registered with the ABStartups, (the Brazilian Startup Association).

In terms of the IP protection mechanisms used by Brazilian start-ups, the report identified that trademark protection is by far the most used (973 companies), followed by the registration of computer programs in distant second place (98 companies).

Regarding patents, the report found that that less than 2% of the start-ups analyzed have a patent application filing in the INPI database. Only 68 patent applications were filed by a start-up in the list provided. The analysis of the relevant patent applications showed that most of these were filed after 2016 (45 applications). Indeed, most startups had only one patent application filed, with only seven companies having three or more patent applications filed with the INPI. The South and Southeast regions of Brazil had the highest concentration of patent filings. As with other protection mechanisms, the most common filings relate to information technology industries.

Patents are considered among the most valuable assets for start-up companies, allowing them to prevent competitors from using their technology, as well as driving investments and acquisitions and preventing costly litigation. That being said, start-ups often face extreme difficulties in this area, in terms of determining the subject matter to be patented, as well as the significant time and investment required in the process. Due to such factors and an overall lack of knowledge of patent system and its benefits, the number of start-up companies applying for patent protection is still low.

At Venturini IP, we believe that start-up companies have much to gain from obtaining a clear understanding of the patent system early on in their development. This creates legal certainty and avoids costly litigation and delays further down the line. Our approach is to provide initial low cost and highly technical services for start-ups, helping them to identify patentable subject matter and to develop a clear protection strategy in line with their future goals.

If you would like more information regarding our work with Brazilian patents please get in touch with us here.