As in most countries, Brazil is severely limited in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Minor services are currently closed in almost all urban areas, and authorities are discussing plans to resume operations as soon as the number of victims peaks.
Brazilian courts employ some 450,000 people, including more than 18,000 judges. If we look at 1.2 million lawyers, it is reasonable to say that at least 1.65 million people are part of the Brazilian judiciary. The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO) operates on a small scale and has no more than 1,000 current officials. The intellectual property community is, on average, smaller than other areas, such as banks, mergers and acquisitions, but is still very active. BPTO listens to more than 250,000 disputes per year, including patents, trademarks, development applications, and contracts.
The scope of the problem
During national or local holidays, courts work with very limited staff to handle emergencies, such as medical treatment or medical precautions. Given the expected delivery time of at least a few weeks, it is not possible to deal with emergencies alone. Almost 80 million lawsuits are currently pending. Although much of it is not urgent, it is certainly of great importance to stakeholders and to society.
To coordinate the decisions of the local courts, the National Council of Justice of Brazil (CNJ) issued a resolution on March 19, which establishes that all Brazilian courts, with the exception of urgent cases, must be closed for the treatment of highly capable. qualified. qualified. . reduced. However, the resolution allows local courts to establish remote work systems.
BPTO has been working remotely since 2016. Initially, 35 employees were connected and working from home to assess productivity. The test results were very positive, with several employees participating in the program. During the epidemic, BPTO officials were ready to work from home, and even those who had never used a telework system had a smooth transition.
Of course, the plan to continue the operation remotely was skeptical, and many attorneys expected that prosecution and decision-making would be significantly delayed. However, productivity has improved in many countries after a month when the court was closed and working for BPTO Telework. The productivity of several federal and state courts, including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Santa Catarina, has created an effective teleworking system for judges, assistants, and staff.
According to official information from the Brazilian National Judicial Council, judges working remotely in Brazil have issued more than 3 million decisions since the beginning of the arrest (between March 17 and April 12). Only a million in the courts of Sao Paulo. In addition, the Rio de Janeiro State Court ruled that the judge’s productivity was higher in March 2020 than in March 2019, and he worked remotely for half a month. BPTO data has not been published.
The authors’ experience of filing lawsuits, videoconferencing with first instance judges, and receiving preliminary preventive measures within this remote system has been positive. We also present complaints and responses to complaints that the appeal judges heard quickly and remotely. The appeals court also plans virtual court hearings for this period.
It can be made
In general, remote work seems to be going well so far. However, that does not mean it is easy. In fact, working from home requires a lot of effort and organizational skills to align changes over time with other tasks and the natural shortage caused by the pandemic. However, productivity results show that teleworking offers more benefits than risks for the community. With some changes to routine and on-the-go activities, it is certainly possible to quickly and effectively protect and enforce intellectual property rights in court, even in these difficult times.