Accessing and understanding patent information from Latin America

Worldwide IP team offered seminars on patent systems, data and search options

How do you go about viewing the electronic file in Mexico? What is an "A6" document in Argentina? Can you search for the legal status of applications in Chile? In Brazil, what is the difference between a patent and a "certificate of addition"?

To answer these questions and more, experts from the EPO's Worldwide IP team took users on an exciting journey through Latin American patent systems in three online seminars. Between 70 and 80 participants attended each session, using the opportunity to find out more about the national patent systems, granting procedure, data coverage and search options. 

In most of the jurisdictions, patents were introduced in the 19th century but the national laws have remained nearly unchanged for more than hundred years. Major amendments to national IP legislations have been made only since the late 20th century – mainly because countries joining the World Trade Organization have to change national IP laws to comply with the TRIPS Agreement.

With more than 80% of patent filings submitted by foreign applicants, the volume of first filings covering new technologies is relatively small. This makes patent information users less interested in prior art searches for Latin American data and more interested in Freedom to Operate assessments and in monitoring the legal status of a competitor's patent or pending application.

A decent understanding of the national patent system is vital for performing these searches and understanding legal event data. For each of the five countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico – attendees followed the life of a patent file through the various stages of the granting procedures, including filing and publication, and looked at examination requirements as well as how third parties can challenge a granted right in opposition or invalidation procedures.

How do you access this information? While Espacenet covers a considerable amount of the bibliographic data in all five jurisdictions, legal event and full-text data and other details are only partially available. Participants were then shown free online search tools from the national IP authorities which provide upto-date legal status information on national patents and pending applications and even – in the cases of Argentina, Colombia and Mexico – access to the online file wrapper.

If you have any questions about these seminars or on Latin American patent information in general, email the EPO's Worldwide IP team at

Patent applicants EN

Fig. 1: Patent applications at the different Latin American offices in 2021. Source: Statistical Country Profiles (WIPO). 

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