What is the explanation for this situation? As shown, fewer applications are filed with the BRPTO than the global average, and even the average figures for Latin America and the Caribbean. Nevertheless, its backlog is ballooning steadily at a frightening rate.
According to 2015 data, the Brazilian Patent Office employs 193 full-time examiners who produce an average of 35 decisions each year through technical examinations, equivalent to less than three decisions a month. This extremely low productivity level underscores the need for infrastructure reform, more examiners and the introduction of new procedures that may help the BRPTO become more productive. In light of this the BRPTO hired 70 examiners in June 2016.
According to a report drawn up by Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries (CNI) that was published in 2014,7 the ratio between the total number of patent applications pending and the number of examiners reaches 960 in Brazil, compared to 77 in the USA and 186 in Japan.
However, these figures may not be used as an excuse for sluggish patent application processing by the BRPTO. After all, although the ratio between the number of pending applications and each examiner indicates that Brazil's examiners are subject to heavier workloads, the situation is reversed when analyzing the ratio between the number of patent applications filed each year and the number of examiners. For example, while Brazil’s 193 examiners received 33,569 patent applications (see Graph 2 on page 6), the 1,713 examiners received 342,796 new patent applications. Similarly, while the BRPTO received 149 new patent applications per examiner in 2012, the JPO received 200 new patent applications per examiner.8
The new workloads flowing in each year for Brazilian patent examiners are far lighter than the workloads borne by their counterparts in Europe, North America and Japan. It is not correct to say that Brazilian examiners have heavier workloads. If the number of patent applications pending x examiner is higher in Brazil, the problem lies in the low productivity levels of the BRPTO examiners, which causes a snowball effect. Another difficulty is related to analyzing BRPTO financial data: in 2014, it posted revenues from services of R$ 268,201,54.00, with a budget allocation in the Annual Budget Act of R$ 403,436,523.00 that year. It is worthwhile stressing that the budget allocation of the BRPTO rose by 22.5% between 2013 and 2014, although it did not increase the number of examiners on its staff or upgrade its services.