On 15 Aug 2013 Robert Griffiths QC, Samuel Okoronkwo, our senior clerk Stephen Broom and I met Vera Helena de Moraes Dantas and David Benoliel of Noronha Abogados. Noronha Abogados is a Brazilian law firm with offices in seven major cities in Brazil and a further eight in the rest of the world including one in London. Vera is the resident partner of the London office and she is also an English solicitor. I met Vera when she gave a talk on doing business in Brazil at a conference on business in the Americas organized by the North West branch of UK Trade and Investment at Haydock Park over 10 years ago. Whenever I have had a client who has required advice on Brazilian law I have sent him off to Vera. Vera in turn provided me with some information on Brazilian law for my presentation on "The Coming Economic Downturn: How it will affect inventors and what they can do" 15 Oct 2008.
The reason why we invited Vera and David to our chambers is that we are all sports fans and Brazil is about to host the World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016. A lot of folk from the UK will be involved in those in one way or another and some of them will have legal issues which we can help to resolve as advisers, advocates, arbitrators or mediators. To explore some of those issues we plan to hold a one day conference in London on sports law early in the new year at which Vera has agreed to speak.
Though Brazilians have dominated football for many years, done very well in tennis and motor sports and even seem to be learning to play cricket, there is a lot more to Brazil than sport. With a population of just under 200 million in a land area of 3.3 million square miles and a nominal of GDP of US$2.4 trillion which is either just a bit larger or little bit less than our own Brazil is an increasingly important trading partner.It is therefore essential for British businesses and their advisers to know something about Brazil's legal system.
An excellent starting point is Legal Guide: Business in Brazil edited by Durval de Noronha Guyos Junior which contains chapters on all aspects of Brazilian law. I have only read the chapters on intellectual property, competition and e-business so far but I found them very interesting. I am looking forward to the other chapters, particularly on film, contract and sports law.
I hope this will be the first of a series of articles on Brazilian IP and technology law as I have invited contributions on those topics from our friends at Noronha. Should they want to publish articles on corresponding topics of English and European law for their readers I will be glad to supply them. As I do not yet speak more than a few words of Portuguese I can only provide the following links for the time being.
These are the sites for Brazilian legislation according to WorldLII and these catalogue the country's case law. The WIPO country profile on Brazil lists its federal constitution, the main IP statutes and other legislation. Many of those materials are translated into English. Its National Industrial Property Office (INPI) seems to have lots of useful information on patents, trade marks, industrial designs, computer programs, semiconductor topographies, geographical indications and the like though these are in Portuguese. Copyright and related rights seem to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture.