Brazil 4.0: Policy and technology driving a new innovation era
At the 8th Brazilian Industry Innovation Summit in São Paulo, Brazil in early June, I had the pleasure of moderating the CAS hosted Innovation Summit which brought together over 100 industry leaders from across commercial, academic and government organizations. We discussed the state of innovation in Brazil today and what approaches and investments will most effectively accelerate progress for the future.
For additional insights, watch recordings of the CAS Innovation Summit: Brazil 2019.
Industry leaders emphasize the importance of efficient innovation
The summit was opened by Dr. Pedro Wongtschowski, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ultrapar, who provided an update on Brazil's chemical industry. In particular, he highlighted how Brazil continues to produce scientific research on a large scale despite the negative economic momentum. In the last decade, the nation's growth rate of scientific publications is 8% per year, and while this is positive, the challenge is turning this output into practical results for the industry.
As part of the summit, I was pleased to have the opportunity to moderate an insightful panel discussion on Brazil Industry 4.0 featuring esteemed leaders from ABIQUIM, Braskem S.A., National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and BASF. We explored the expected impact and benefits of digital technologies on innovation in various industries, as well as current and future challenges on the path to realizing those expectations. The panelists also emphasized the importance of partnerships with start-up companies to accelerate innovation. These partnerships contribute to the reduction of internal costs and processes and the provision of state-of-the-art technological solutions for clients. "With the dynamism of start-ups, we have been able to accelerate the process of changes necessary for innovation. This is a huge challenge and we have learned a lot on this journey," said Roberto Bischoff, Global Vice President of Competitiveness at Braskem.
Gilles Georges, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for CAS, also provided insight on the importance of high-quality information resources for efficient innovation in the era of big data, with a particular focus on the importance of data quality in achieving success with artificial intelligence and analytics applications.
Accelerating intellectual property
It is well known, and was highlighted by industry participants, that one of the primary challenges to driving increased innovation across industries in Brazil has been obtaining patents on new inventions. The current backlog for patent examination at INPI is over 7 years. The good news is that these challenges are about to be part of the past.
Claudio Furtado, President of INPI, emphasized his commitment to address this issue. During his speech, he announced his goal to reduce the patent application backlog by up to 80% in the next two years, which was enthusiastically celebrated by attendees.
This means that applications that took an average of 7.2 years to prosecute previously would be completed in about two years in the future, which is in line with timelines at other major world patent offices. According to Furtado, this significant reduction will be possible thanks to a series of internal measures that INPI has been undertaking, including technology investments and providing more autonomy and incentive to work remotely to examiners. "The goal was for them to increase their efficiency by 30% with this measure and the result was better than we expected, as it reached 41%," Furtado explained. CAS is proud to be partnering with INPI to help them achieve this ambitious goal.
Brazilian innovation shifting into high gear
Reflecting on the Summit, I am filled with optimism about the future of innovation in Brazil. In addition to the plans announced by INPI, Brazil's expected accession to the Madrid Protocol will also provide a critical boost to investment and financing for innovators, as it means that Brazilian patents and trademarks will be recognized and protected practically all over the world.
This new scenario will establish a cycle in which everyone in the innovation pipeline gains from end to end. Without having to wait for years to get their applications covered, innovators will be able to focus more on new products instead of being locked into operational issues. Greater legal certainty to patent decisions will reduce litigation and increase the quality of patents in the long run. Serious innovators will benefit most, as many poorly substantiated patent applications will no longer be protected under the law simply because they have been placed under INPI's approval. And the consumer, in turn, can count on a greater variety of products at their disposal and at more competitive prices.
The future has never looked so bright for innovation in Brazil, and there are many reasons to believe that our long held aspirations will be realized. I look forward to partnering with innovation-focused organizations across industries, on behalf of CAS, to help support that success.
Interested in a deeper look at the innovation landscape in Brazil? Contact CAS today!
CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, partners with R&D organizations globally to provide actionable scientific insights that help them plan, innovate, protect their innovations, and predict how new markets and opportunities will evolve. Leverage our unparalleled content, specialized technology, and unmatched human expertise to customize solutions that will give your organization an information advantage.