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 20 August 2008

New Zealand mulls new patent law -- but there's no room for patent extensions

The Patents Bill 2008 is currently under consideration in New Zealand (you can read a short note here or the full text of the Bill, together with the New Zealand Government's explanatory notes, here). A notable omission is any provision relating to supplementary protection certificates for pharmaceutical or agrochemical substances.

Right: Does New Zealand prioritise the interests of the farmer over that of the pharma ...?

This omission may seem surprising to some when it is borne in mind that "neighbouring" Australia (if any country can be regarded as a neighbour in those parts), which shares much the same legal traditions and business culture, enacted patent extension provisions for pharmaceutical substances in s.70 of its Patents Act 1990. Since New Zealand patent law seems to be treated to a major overhaul about once every 50 or so years, this may be a good time for the innovatory side of the industry to do some lobbying.

Five years ago it was reported by NZ law firm Baldwin Son & Carey that "the Government Minister responsible ... says that the issue of extending the term of pharmaceutical patents will be investigated as part of the review of the Patents Act". Does any reader know what has happened since? Is there a matter of principle involved or is it felt that, since NZ has such a small domestic market, the availability of extension of the patent term for pharma substances is unlikely to play a major part in the investment decisions of pharmaceutical companies?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this discussion document covers the investigation:


Given the size of NZ, I think they'll save more from off-patent drugs than they would gain from promoting pharmaceutical research with SPCs.