The Brazilian PTO hosted this week, from October 23rd to 27th, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the ninth meeting of the Experts’ Group for Semiconductor Technology (EGST). This is the first time that the meeting has taken place outside of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in Geneva, Switzerland. The group’s objective was to discuss a new class in the International Patent Classification (IPC) focused on semiconductors. Participants from several countries such as Japan, Korea, the UK, the USA, France and, of course, Brazil as well as representatives from the IP entities EPO and WIPO from many different areas of related technologies such as chemistry, electricity, and mechanics, were present at the meeting.
The new classification has the objective of establishing an effective search tool capable of assisting in the evaluation of novelty and inventive steps of patent applications in this semiconductor area as well as an effective tool for market trends and statistics.
It is important to note that the Brazilian PTO has proposed to host this event in 2020, which was not possible due to the pandemic, and it finally happened in the country this year given the importance of the local Institute in the Groups’ works since 2004 with more than 50 proposed projects in the area, some already concluded whereas others are still in progress.
In this regard, it is also relevant to note that the Brazilian PTO recently participated in May 2023 of the 8th meeting of the EGST at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. At that time, two projects coordinated by Brazil were actively discussed during the meeting, one in the field of image processing and the other in the preservation of human or animal body parts, and the participation of BRPTO’s researcher Catia Valdman was prominent.
It is also worth noting that the development of semiconductors in Brazil is of utmost importance, as evidenced by several meetings held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations (MCTI) in Brasília, with the participation of multinational companies and major global players in the semiconductor industry. The meeting’s agendas since 2022 focused on discussions on the global market and the development of semiconductors directly in Brazil. In the context of the global technological supply crisis affecting key industrial chains, the Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovations at that time, Paulo Alvim, emphasized that countries are starting to view the development, manufacture, and supply of semiconductors as a matter of sovereignty.
"We are engaging in advanced discussions with the basic Defense industry, making progress, especially in innovation procurement in relation to the Startups Law and regulations", stated the former Minister. "This not only pertains to semiconductors but also to final products and embedded technology. We need to start exercising this area, or we won't be implementing industrial policy", he argued.
Additionally, Federal Government initiatives to support the sector were also presented in meetings at MCTI, focusing on human capital, logistics, financing, legislation, and market access. Particular attention was given to incentive programs such as the Support Program for Technological Development in the Semiconductor Industry (PADIS), the Brazilian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, and the National Plan for the Internet of Things. An analysis of various global instruments to promote the semiconductor industry was also presented, and Fernando Loureiro, Director of Government Affairs for Latin America, and Africa at the time, pointed out that "there is a need for a more perceptible way to leverage all of this out for investors".
In conclusion, government representatives and companies agreed to expand discussions and collaborate on a joint agenda to align efforts that could create new opportunities for technological and economic development in the semiconductor sector in Brazil.
These discussions are extremely beneficial for the development of this sector in Brazil. Local production of semiconductors can bring numerous significant benefits to both the national and global economy in the short and long term, which include ensuring the stability of electronic supply chains and reducing dependence on importing critical components, a situation that has caused extreme instability in the sector in recent years, such as during the pandemic and the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Furthermore, fostering local development, combined with BRPTO's growing expertise in this field of technology as can be seen from the local Institute's active participation in events and meetings of the EGST, can lead to the creation of local technologies that, once protected by Intellectual Property rights, such as patents, software and even topographies of integrated circuits, might generate high-added value for the national industry and transform the country into a reference in the semiconductor area.