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

Friday 26 June 2009

Reverse payments: (how) do they affect SPCs?

While discussing possible subjects for discussion at The SPC Blog's second annual seminar this coming January, one of the topics that was raised was that of "reverse payments". The idea of a patent owner "buying off" a generic competitor in order to ensure a longer period of exclusivity and avoiding a legal challenge is one that has become well enshrined in US patent practice -- and although concern has been expressed by antitrust regulators, consumer groups and others, the Supreme Court has yet to agree to hear an appeal on this issue.

Have reverse payments become part of European practice and, if so, to what extent? There is certainly some support for the proposition that they are illegal in their basic form. But would they especially nuanced where the right which the proprietor seeks to protect lies in the realm of supplementary protection? I've not been able to find a literature on this subject, but would like to consider it as a seminar topic if there's enough substance to it.

Please let me know your thoughts, either by posting them below so that everyone can see them, or by emailing them here. If there are other topics that appeal to you, please let me know about those too.

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