An endeavor to bolster services to local and international users of the intellectual property system has culminated with nine South American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay – signing a cooperation agreement called PROSUR. The collaborative initiative is primarily oriented towards promoting the utilization of the industrial property system as a means to advance innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship in the region’s scientific community, universities, and small and medium enterprises.
The collaborative agreement arose in light of the increase in number and complexity of patent applications, and the ensuing need to improve the exchange of information across regions. To address this matter, the intellectual property offices in the regions are working towards collaboration and coordination via the development of a common platform that allows for system integration and compatibility. This platform will allow each office to share performed patent examinations in an effort to improve efficiency and quality in the search process.
The project has received financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank, which “can be seen as a direct recognition of the role of IP in general and patents in particular in fostering innovation and growth, in this region as in others”, according to Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office. Furthermore, in 2011, WIPO announced its support for the PROSUR process. WIPO developed a platform called “WIPO CASE” which enables the sharing of confidential search and examination information between intellectual property offices and is already being utilized by other regional groupings. WIPO will assist PROSUR members with its integration project by creating the requisite infrastructure, including the incorporation of the WIPO CASE platform.
The joint venture seems promising and will hopefully lead to a viable system that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.