In 1995, Brazil became a member of the World Trade Organization. All members of the WTO are required to enforce intellectual property laws in a particular way. For that reason, Brazil’s laws regarding intellectual property do not differ greatly from those in other countries that belong to the WTO.
There are multiple types of intellectual property in Brazil:
- Copyright : The terms of copyright in Brazil state that protection will last for seventy years after the original author’s death. This includes all forms of artwork including music and literature. However, software that is under copyright is only protected for fifty years. Copyright can be registered with the Brazilian National Library.
- Industrial Property: This type of property in Brazil includes all other forms of industrial property, including invention patents, industrial designs, trade designs, trademarks and utility models. The Brazilian Trademark and Patent Office is responsible for operating these protections.
- Invention Patents: Patents for an invention protect the idea for up to twenty years. In Brazil, if two people file for a patent that covers the same invention, the person that was “first to file” will be awarded the patent.
- Industrial Designs: Designs that are of an industrial nature can be patented and protected for up to ten years in Brazil. The design must be new in every way to qualify for an industrial design patent.
- Trademarks: In business, it can be easy to copy someone else’s trademark, even accidentally. When a trademark is patented, its shape, color, and symbols are all protected.
Intellectual property comes in many forms and Brazil affords many ways to protect it. Intellectual property can either be registered or unregistered. Whether or not you should register your intellectual property depends on what type it is.
Unregistered Intellectual Property
There are some forms of intellectual property for which you already have sole rights. These forms include common law trademarks, confidential information, copyrights and unregistered design rights.
Registered Intellectual Property
On the other hand, some intellectual property is not protected in Brazil until it is registered. Without registration, others can legally copy your ideas for profit. You should register property such as invention patent.
If you are from the United States and you are doing business in Brazil, you will find many similarities between the laws of intellectual property. Both the US and Brazil are members of the World Trade Organization, which sets a standard for all protection involving intellectual property. Without such protection, ideas would be stolen and the marketplace would be cluttered with repetitions of the same ideas and designs. The protection of intellectual property works in favor of both business owners and consumers alike. If you are thinking of doing business in Brazil and create some form of intellectual property, you should speak with an attorney to make sure you understand the rights you have over your property.