A niche blog dedicated to the issues that arise when supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) extend patents beyond their normal life -- and to the respective positions of patent owners, investors, competitors and consumers. The blog also addresses wider issues that may be of interest or use to those involved in the extension of patent rights. You can email The SPC Blog here

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Concern about the future, but demand for extended term is far from unanimous

Via the Cambridge Network comes news of a survey carried out during April and May of this year for UK-based patent and trade mark attorneys Marks & Clerk. The survey, which underpins the findings of that firm's current annual biotechnology report, covered some 500 respondents in the biotech and pharma sectors in Europe, the US and Asia. It reveals (among many other things) that

* 72 per cent of respondents believe that future drug pipelines will become much harder to deliver unless the drug approval process is relaxed;

* extensions to the existing patent term are advocated by 73 per cent of respondents;

* 91 per cent consider the time it now takes for drugs to get through the system is eating into patent protection;

* 78 per cent believe the climate for enabling biotechnology innovation has deteriorated within the past year.

Factors identified as giving rise to concern are the growing caution of the US Food and Drug Administration in the granting of marketing approval for new drugs which, in turn, put added pressure on the patent life, and the likelihood that genuine innovation will take a back seat behind drug modification and late-stage development. In addition to the findings of the survey, the report also highlights key issues relating to IP law and policy. For a copy of the report email Jo Colton here.

One subject worthy of speculation and analysis is why the percentage of respondents who do not advocate an extension of the existing patent term stands at 27%. Is the divide between the pro- and anti-extension lobbies within the industry characterised by differences in national laws, industry sector, perceptions of the worth of new products in the corporate pipeline, job description ... or what?

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