Argentina’s making a push for greater foreign investment and business within its borders. A World Investment Report published in 2018 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development showed that FDI into Argentina doubled between 2016-17, reaching US$11.9 billion.
As one of Latin America’s largest economies, Argentina is a viable business destination for those looking to expand into the region. Importantly, though, companies should consider their right to intellectual and industrial property protection in the country. Understand how to patent your invention and protect the long-term security of your business in Argentina.
The patent of an invention serves as a title deed on an object, process, mechanism or apparatus for manufacturing products and chemical compounds. To be considered as an invention in Argentina, the product must be novel, of inventive activity and have industrial application.
The body responsible for managing the patent registration process in Argentina is the National Institute of Intellectual Property. Locally, it’s known in Spanish as Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Intelectual, or INPI.
The process for granting an invention patent takes approximately 5 years, from the beginning of the application until the approval of the registration. Its validity is 20 years, which is granted for once and is not renewable. After this period, the invention becomes available to the public.
Who can apply for a patent and how do they do it?
Anyone who has made an invention and wants to guarantee the exclusive right to manufacture, use or market it can request an invention patent.
Before starting the application process, it is important to find out if the patent being sought or a similar one has already been applied for or granted. For this, you can access the INPI consultation portal and conduct your own research on what’s already registered.
Once you’re confident that the patent you want isn’t already registered, you must gather the required documentation for submission with your application. This step can be complex, and it involves working with local agencies and notaries. As such, we recommend the assistance of a legal professional, to ensure your business is prepared and avoid delays in the process.
Application process and requirements
There are 4 main steps to the patent application process, outlined below.
1. Presentation and preliminary examination
After compiling all the necessary documentation and information, you submit your application online through the INPI portal. Alternatively, you can submit it in person or by post, to the INPI Ticket Office, located at:
Av. Paseo Colón 717
The application comes with a fee of AR$6000 (approximately US$140).
The INPI will first verify that the information on the forms is complete and accurate. They’ll also check that the summary presented correctly describes the invention to be patented.
2. Public consultation
18 months after the process begins, the patent application will be published in INPI’s Patent Bulletin. In this step, the public has access to your proposed patent and can submit comments about it within the next 60 days. These observations made by third parties will function as recommendations for the examiners to take into consideration, especially if there are claims your product is similar to another’s.
In the event that these comments prompt the examiners to make ‘observations’ – feedback about your application that needs addressing – the National Patent Administration will request that you make the necessary clarifications within 60 days. You may also be asked to provide supplementary information or documentation to accompany your application, in order to satisfy these obligations.
3. Database exam
Patent examiners will conduct a search in national and international databases to determine if the application meets the requirements of being a novelty, having inventive activity and industrial application. From this, they’ll determine whether the application meets all final patent requirements.
4. Granting and final publication
Finally, in approximately 5 years of filing the application, the INPI will grant the patent as it was published in the INPI Patent Bulletin, and granting all rights over its use to the applicant.
Modernizing corporate compliance measures
In a bid to keep the foreign investment flowing, Argentina is sprucing up some of its corporate regulations to develop a healthy business environment.
A recent makeover of the country’s data protection law (Bill No. MEN-2018-147-APN-PTE) now aligns with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Standardization against international guidelines make it easier for incoming businesses to understand and meet these requirements when operating in the country.
Additionally, the country’s Knowledge Economy Law, also known as the Law of Software, was recently introduced to boost activities related to digitalization and technological innovation. This law incentivizes tech-based business by offering preferential corporate treatment to those working in this space. This law operates hand-in-hand with strong intellectual property values and protections, as these businesses rely on the commercialization of unique software or tech innovations to generate revenue.
Contact us to get started
In Argentina, the government is taking tangible steps to facilitate a modern, competitive commercial environment. Some initial processes for businesses expanding or incorporating in Argentina can however still be quite complex to navigate.
Partner with an agency you can trust to help get your company off the ground. At Biz Latin Hub, our team of local and expatriate professionals offer years of experience in market entry and back-office services to our clients.
We’ve been working with businesses in a wide range of industries who are moving into Argentina and the rest of the region for 5 years. Reach out to us today at [email protected] to learn more about our tailored business solutions, and how we can help you.