New staff expected to curb application backlog
The Brazilian federal government has recruited 108 new staff for the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) while the Development, Industry and Foreign Commerce Ministry has requested approval to hire immediately another 450 staff for the PTO. This follows the government's decision earlier this year to increase the PTO's budget by nearly 56% from R54 million ($18 million) to R84 million. The additional staff are expected to help reduce the backlog of applications pending at the PTO.
The backlog results from the fact that the number of trademark applications filed at the PTO has doubled since the early 1990s to reach nearly 100,000 a year, while the PTO's infrastructure has remained almost unchanged. The increase in the number of applications is due to the consolidation of the democratic institutions in Brazil and the opening of the country's economy to the rest of the world since the end of the 1980s. Another reason is the implementation on May 15 1997 of the new Brazilian Industrial Property Law (the record number of trademark applications to date - 154,342 - was filed in 1997). The lack of change in the PTO's infrastructure is due to the fact that the PTO is not master of its own budget, even though it generates a profit. The PTO must transfer any profit to the government, which then reallocates part of the moneys to the PTO while using the rest for other departments.
Mauro Ivan Coelho Ribeiro dos Santos, Dannemann Siemsen Bigler & Ipanema Moreira, Rio de Janeiro
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