Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
Be precise in the description of the obligations of the contracting parties and of quality control.
Law Applicable to the Contract
In 2012, Brazil signed the Vienna Convention on International Contracts, which entered into force in the country in October 2014. The Brazilian legal system is complex. It is not easy for a foreigner to understand Brazilian law. It is recommended that you use international law or call on an arbitration system and that you get help from a Brazilian lawyer.
Language of Domestic Contract
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
The main rules of international law are likely to be accepted by a Brazilian supplier.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The organisation in charge of the patent protection and trademarks in Brazil is the INPI (Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial).
Regional Organisations
MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur); UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants)
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
20 years for inventions
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
10 years, renewable
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
10 years, renewable three times for five years  
Lei de Direitos Autorais
70 years after the death of the author or from the publication (for audio-visual and photographic works) Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
Industrial Models
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
15 years  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Judicial power guarantees a fair trial to foreign nationals.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is often necessary to resort to an interpreter if you do not speak Portuguese.
Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the Constitution of 1988. The legal system is based on Roman codes. The civil code, inspired previously by the Napoleonic code, is nowadays closer to the Italian code.

The Different Legal Codes

Contract and property law Lei nº 9.279 de 14 de maio de 1996
Consumer rights Lei nº 8.078 de 11 de setembro de 1990
Company law Lei nº 556 de 25 de junho de 1850
Labour law Lei n° 10.406, de 10 de janeiro de 2002
Checking National Laws Online
Guide to Brazilian Law Online
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Justice
Country Guides
American Secretary of State website
Lexmundi Country Guide

The Jurisdictions

State Court of Justice All disputes, crimes and offenses on state territory. The criminal courts are themselves divided into courts of judgment and courts of appeal, and have specialized branches such as the Court of Assizes when murderers are judged by a jury of citizens, the Court for the enforcement of sentences and the Court for police cases.
Federal Court of Justice Competent within the states for disputes involving the federal authorities or for disputes between states.
Regional Court of Federal Justice Hears judgements on appeal given by federal judges or state judges ruling on a federal dispute.
Industrial Tribunal (local, regional, supreme court for labor) Settles disputes between employers and employees and all cases connected with labor law.
Electoral tribunal (local, regional, supreme) Competent for the way elections are held and the creation of political parties.
Court martial (local, superior) Competent for crimes and offenses involving the army.
Others Specific courts have been set up in certain States to cope with a workload which is too heavy: public finance courts, family and inheritance courts, public register courts and courts for minors.
Higher Court of Justice Judges appeal proceedings at the federal level.
Supreme Court Rules on constitutional issues.

Court Officials

A judge appoints a duly authorized professional who will review information in order to clarify certain elements of a case.
The lawyer's first role is to inform his clients about their rights and obligations. Then he can represent them in court and make a speech for the defense.
Public prosecutor
He is a magistrate who represents the Prosecution .

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International Dispute Resolution

Arbitration has been officially recognized as a legitimate procedure for domestic and international commercial conflict resolution for 10 years. The Brazilian Court system, in general, is overburdened, and contract disputes can often take years to move through the system. According to a study by the World Bank, it takes 44 procedures and 731 days to litigate a contract breach at an average cost of 15.3% of the claim.
Arbitration Law
Law nº 9307 of 1996.
Article 34 of Brazilian Law 9.307, the 1996 Brazilian Arbitration Act, defines a foreign arbitration judgment as any judgment rendered outside the national territory. The law established that the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court must ratify foreign arbitration awards. This law also stipulates that the foreign arbitration award is to be recognized or executed in Brazil in conformity with the international agreements ratified by the country and in their absence, with domestic law.
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
Chosen by the opposing parties.
Arbitration Procedure
Arbitration procedures are only accepted for cases of an economic nature. International arbitration must be ratified by the Supreme Court to be valid in Brazil. Brazilian justice can be referred to if an arbitration decision is not observed.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Comitê Brasileiro de Arbitragem

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Latest Update: July 2024