In this paper we provide an introduction to some of the most salient aspects of the debate regarding the relationships between stronger intellectual property rights (IPRs) regimes and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. We emphasize that, despite increased knowledge on the subject, little is known on the relationships between IPRs, innovation, and growth, especially as developing countries are concerned. We report on preliminary research on the patenting activities in Brazil using domestic patent data, rather than – as it is customary – international patents. Firstly, we show that the adoption of the TRIPs had substantial positive impact on the number of patent applications in Brazil, but that the great majority of these new patent applications have come from nonresidents, most likely as extensions of foreign patents. However it is too early to assess if this substantial increase in (foreign) patents is a permanent characteristic of patenting activity in Brazil. Secondly, the introduction of TRIPs has not changed the technological composition of patenting activity in Brazil, with one major exception, the growth of the share of the chemical and pharmaceutical patents, few years after the upsurge of patenting in other fields.