WIPO Director General Pledges Support to Brazil in its IP Journey
March 17, 2022
BRASILIA, Brazil – Director General Daren Tang pledged WIPO's support for Brazil as it implements an intellectual property-based strategy promoting innovation- and creativity-driven economic growth, while meeting with the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Economy and other officials.
On the second day of an official visit to Brazil, Mr. Tang conferred with Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos França, as well as representatives of the Ministries of Economy, Tourism and Agriculture and other members of Brazil’s Inter-Ministerial Group of IP (GIPI), designed to bring a cross-cutting, multi-sectoral approach to intellectual property (IP).
Mr. Tang and the GIPI officials signed an agreement on the implementation of Brazil’s National Intellectual Property Strategy.
“WIPO and Brazil have worked hand in hand to develop a National IP Strategy and we are pleased that with the signing of this memorandum of understanding we are now moving towards implementation,” said Mr. Tang. He added: “Brazil can count on WIPO's continued support as it uses IP as a horizontal enabler cutting across different sectors of its economy, and ultimately as a powerful catalyst for growth and development.”
In pledging WIPO’s continued support, the Director General said: “This in person signing underscores WIPO’s commitment to strengthening our strategic partnership with Brazil, and sends a strong signal of Brazil’s commitment to building the future of its innovation ecosystem.”
In a meeting with Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Fernando Simas Magalhaes, Mr. Tang reaffirmed WIPO’s continuing collaboration with Brazil in strengthening its IP-supported innovation ecosystem. He outlined his vision for a broader, more inclusive and development oriented IP system. He said Brazil’s successful IP journey can serve as a role model for other developing countries.
A day earlier, Mr. Tang began a four-day official visit to Brazil in São Paulo with energizing discussions with start-ups, entrepreneurs and enterprises on how the IP system can better support business growth.
At a meeting organized by the Confederation of National Industries (CNI), representatives of firms of all sizes – from Brazil’s aviation giant Embraer S.A. to smaller companies specializing in clean tech – endorsed WIPO’s vision of using IP as a catalyst for growth.
The firms were supportive of new efforts by WIPO to address the issue of IP valuation and financing. Discussions also touched on the issues of IP enforcement, and the future of Brazil’s innovation ecosystem.
Mr. Tang said it is key to broaden the mindset towards IP and dispel the myth that it is only relevant to large companies or advanced economies. He added that IP must be seen as a powerful tool for business growth including for SMEs, and that Brazil’s industry already had the breadth and depth to take its innovation ecosystem to the next level. He also emphasized the importance of dealing with IP as a horizontal issue, which would require a multi-stakeholder approach and public-private collaboration.
Mr. Tang observed: “Innovation needs an ecosystem to thrive – it is when you connect the dots from each sector that the magic happens. But to change course requires patience and commitment and we are here to help you with that journey”.
At a meeting with CEOs of start-ups, organized by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, Mr. Tang lauded the resilience of the Brazilian economy and the increasing vibrancy of the start-ups and SME sector, noting that Brazil has fostered 26 unicorns in recent years.
Responding to comments by a number of start-up representatives on the costs of IP protection, the Director General said that this was indeed a common challenge for small companies.
WIPO could provide an avenue where best practices from all over the world could be studied or emulated. In addition, WIPO was ready to deploy its IP Diagnostic Tool, designed to help SMEs understand how much of its business was connected to IP, to Brazil.
The Director General emphasized the need for partnerships with Brazil business associations and industry, and encouraged the community to give its full support and feedback to the IP office and other agencies, so that they could design and refine programs to support these enterprises.
Mr. Tang said: “Brazil is not starting from scratch but over the years has built various institutions and mechanisms to support innovation. As Brazil further internationalizes its economy and grows its next unicorns, WIPO is here to support with our tools, expertise and advice.”
The Director General echoed similar remarks at a meeting hosted by Sebrae, an organization devoted to promoting the entrepreneurship of SMEs. Mr. Tang pledged to provide mentoring support to up to 300 SME entrepreneurs on how to incorporate IP into their export strategies and help them become global players. Mr. Tang discussed the needs of smaller enterprises in Brazil and pledged WIPO's support for producers in Brazil's Tefé region in the Amazon as they use IP to bring their indigenous products to the world.
Mr. Tang last leg of his official visit was in Rio where he met representatives of the business community as well as visited Brazil’s IP Office.
In remarks to the Brazilian Intellectual Property Association (ABPI), Mr. Tang spoke about how IP professionals can support the next generation of innovators and creators to not only engage with IP, but to use it effectively in a rapidly transforming global economy.
He said the first challenge is to connect IP to people’s everyday lives and make it relevant to young people: “we must move IP out of the shadows and into the light. It is only by broadening our work and connecting it to a much wider and more diverse range of stakeholders that we will help people to see the value of IP that we all see.”
In order for IP to act as bridge to a better future, Mr. Tang said, “we must ensure that our work reaches groups that have traditionally been underserved by the global IP system. Global youth is high on that list.” He added that the young IP lawyer of the future will play a key role in supporting and strengthening innovation ecosystems around the world.
In a lively Q&A session, members of ABPI asked how Brazilian enterprises could better exploit the IP system. Mr. Tang lauded the merits of the internationalization of Brazil’s IP: “The world is your oyster. Think global. All the pieces are right for a strong innovation ecosystem in Brazil so don’t be shy and go global.” The Director General also highlighted the importance of multilateralism and how IP should be used to build bridges.
In meetings at the Brazil IP Office (INPI), Mr. Tang assured INPI President Cláudio Vilar Furtado and his colleagues of WIPO’s continuing support. He congratulated INPI on its massive efforts to reduce pendency of patent applications - 80% of the backlog in patent examinations was reduced in less than three years.
The Director General congratulated INPI for its role as a service provider to small businesses, producers, government officials, and other players of the IP ecosystem, highlighting INPI’s efforts in providing special services to national entrepreneurs to increase the registration of IP assets.
One example he pointed to was INPI Negócios, a program aimed at increasing the number of IP assets registered by national entrepreneurs, involving 22 initiatives including the creation of specialized centers in different regions of Brazil.