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Uruguay takes final step towards Patent Cooperation Treaty

By: Fabiana Penadés

June 10, 2024

Uruguay wants to give a sure boost to its international position and to the promotion of innovation by being part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). An agreement that will make the country much more attractive for investment through Intellectual Property.

The simplification of the international patent application process provided by the PCT will create conditions for the productive sector to make greater investments in development and research, so Uruguay does not want to miss this opportunity.

For this reason, June 4, 2024 was a key day to reaffirm this commitment, as the Uruguayan Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the accession to the PCT. The bill now passes to the Senate, where it will also be approved, and will then be ready to be filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

As a political measure to achieve its approval, it was decided to reserve Chapter II of the Treaty, which refers to the international preliminary examination to which patent applications must be submitted. This reservation refers to the request of a State to exclude legal effects of certain provisions in its application and has been adopted in the past by other PCT member countries.

These efforts to join the treaty go hand in hand with support for patents generated locally, something that will allow Uruguay to expand internationally and become part of the global innovation ecosystem.

At the same time, the treaty is essential for biotechnology, where Uruguay has a long tradition and international recognition. Now, national researchers will have greater opportunities to internationalize the protection of their innovation.

A few years ago, the country tried to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an agreement that has as an essential requirement to be adhered to the PCT, so this whole process will result in a double economic opening for Uruguay in the future.

All that remains is for Uruguay to pass this bill in the Senate, which will abruptly change the way the rest of the world will see us, knowing that the country is opening its doors even wider to the international market and determined to create more bridges with innovation and technology.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty currently has 157 Contracting States. In Latin America, it is already in force in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. We hope that Uruguay will soon join this list of countries and that our accession will also be the gateway to the treaty for more countries on this side of the Andes.

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