3.2.1 National Institute of Industrial Property
The INPI is a federal autonomous government agency linked to the Ministry of Economy and was created in 1970 by Law No. 5,648, of December 11, 1970.17 The agency’s main purpose is to implement, nationally, the rules governing intellectual property for industry. Thus, it is responsible for the registration of marks, industrial designs, geographical indications, computer programs and circuit topographies; the granting of patents; and the annotation of franchising agreements. It also provides its opinion regarding the signing, ratifying and terminating of conventions, treaties, agreements and arrangements on industrial property.
The INPI must observe, regarding patent protection, the LPI and Law No. 10,196, of February 14, 2001,18 which govern the protection of industrial property in Brazil. It must also observe the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement. Law No. 13,123, of May 20, 2015, also governs the matter. Brazil is also a signatory to the PCT,19 which provides for the filing of an international application to seek protection for an invention in different countries.
Article 227 of the LPI provides that the classifications related to the matters of marks, patents and industrial designs are established by the INPI when they are not set forth in a treaty or an international agreement in force in Brazil. Specifically, regarding patents, their grant is established in Article 2 of the LPI and regulated in Articles 3–93 and 212–244 of the LPI. The INPI issued Normative Rulings No. 30, of March 18, 2013, and No. 31, of December 4, 2013, which are administrative rules that help to understand and apply the LPI. A number of additional INPI ordinances and rulings establish guidelines for the examination of patent applications.20
The INPI has, in its organizational structure, the Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Development Academy (Academia de Propriedade Intelectual, Inovação e Desenvolvimento), whose authority is described in Article 140 of the Internal Rules of the INPI21 and whose primary role is the dissemination of knowledge in the field of industrial property. Another body within the INPI – the Intellectual Property Training and Continued Education Division (Divisão de Formação e Extensão em Propriedade Intelectual),22 provided for in Article 141 of the Internal Rules of the INPI – has a purpose similar to that of the Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Development Academy but is focused on the relations with other public and private bodies.
Both bodies are competent for the training of administrative agents and for their constant improvement throughout their careers, which is also essential for receiving appropriate remuneration and functional evolution. This can be seen from the INPI’s Normative Ruling No. 48, of February 18, 2016, which “addresses the individual performance assessment of INPI’s employees, focusing on the development in the effective position, for purposes of stability in the public service during the probation period, to receive the Industrial Property Field Activity Performance Bonus […] and functional evolution and promotion in INPI’s Career and Positions Plan.”
Beyond the internal limits, the aforementioned bodies dedicate themselves to the indistinct dissemination of knowledge in the industrial property field, promoting courses – taught face-to-face or at a distance, of short or long durations – to the external public.
It should be noted that, as they come from the initiative of the entity responsible for the control of the industrial property in the country, the courses provided by the INPI are one of the main sources of this knowledge in Brazil.