An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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3.3.2 Specialized intellectual property judiciary

The judicial courts, to which the patent cases are assigned, are not specialized in Brazil, except for the courts in the jurisdictions where the patent caseload justifies specialization. This is the case of the State Court of São Paulo (first and appellate instance), and more recently the State Court of Rio Grande do Sul (appellate instance). The Federal Court of the 2nd Region (which is located in the city of Rio de Janeiro and covers the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo) is also a specialized intellectual property court at the first instance as well as at the appeal level. Nonspecialized courts may have jurisdiction over other matters (e.g., civil, corporate, childhood and youth, and criminal matters), which is why they are not considered specialized courts.

Specifically, in the case of the São Paulo State Court at first instance, there are, in the judicial district of the state capital, two trial courts specialized in business and arbitration matters, which entertain litigation involving issues related to business law (Book II of the Special Part of the CC), joint-stock corporations (Law No. 6,404, of December 15, 1976),33 industrial property and unfair competition (addressed, in particular, in the LPI), franchising (Law No. 8,955, of December 15, 1994),34 as well as cases arising from the arbitration law (Law No. 9,307, of September 23, 1996).35 Consequently, industrial property issues that comprise patents and trademarks are judged, in the first instance jurisdiction, as business law matters. There are also, in the first instance jurisdiction, additional specialized trial courts in business and arbitration matters encompassing the districts outside the capital city called 1st Judicial Administrative Region for the greater São Paulo metropolitan area, 4th Judicial Administrative Region of Campinas, 6th Judicial Administrative Region of Ribeirao Preto, 7th Judicial Administrative Region of Santos, 8th Administrative Region of Sao Jose do Rio Preto, 9th Judicial Administrative Region of Sao Josè dos Campos, and 10th Judicial Administrative Region of Sorocaba. In addition, the São Paulo State Court has, in its Court of Appeals (appellate jurisdiction), specialized chambers for analyzing issues involving corporate (including intellectual property) and bankruptcy matters, with competencies as in the first instance business trial courts.

At the Federal Court of the 2nd Region, there are, in the instance jurisdiction, four federal trial courts specialized in industrial property, with jurisdiction to prosecute and decide cases filed against the INPI on such matters. These trial courts are located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the INPI is headquartered. In the appellate jurisdiction, there are specialized business chambers which adjudicate intellectual property issues, as well as criminal and social security matters.

Thus, in Brazil, the only specialized courts in intellectual property are the first and second instance jurisdiction in the São Paulo State Court, the Rio Grande de Sul Court at second instance, and first and appellate instance jurisdiction in the Regional Federal Court of the 2nd Region (Rio de Janeiro). However, there are no courts, either trial or appeal courts, in the state or regional federal courts with exclusive jurisdiction to address patent issues.

Figure 3.3 shows the judicial administration structure in Brazil.

Figure 3.3 The judicial administration structure in Brazil