Knowledge is the most important factor that is driving development in the new era. Today we are living in a knowledge economy wherein much importance will be given to ideas and inventions. The economy is being built in such a way that inventors are rewarded and hence there are immense opportunities for innovators to encase their ideas and creative works. For example, an iPhone can be created with mere $ 100 US Dollars but practically you can’t get an original iPhone with this much amount of money or in other words we can say is that you will have to pay 5 times more money to purchase the same iPhone. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Now, why it is like this, that people are supposed to spend more money for a product that can be obtained with a smaller amount, it is simply to reward inventors/innovators that are involved in the development of that iPhone. If we think in the same line for a drug or a pharmaceutical compound it goes a lot in bringing them to the shelf of a shop. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Unlike smartphones and other such consumer goods, drug development process is a much costlier event that involves billions and billions of dollars and hence it is important innovators extract their invested money from the economy otherwise, innovation and development will be hampered. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Thus if you are in the field of pharmaceuticals it is important to know what are the various types of patents that are available to innovators or companies so that they can monetize their invention(s) accordingly. This article is an attempt to list all such types of patents that are available in the field of pharmaceutics and medicine. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Types of Pharmaceutical Patents available to Inventors
Product patents- A product patent is an exclusive right given to original inventor(s) for a tangible product that they have created. With these rights in place, no other manufacturer can create/manufacture/develop/provide the same product through the same or any other process and be doing so may lead to infringement of patents. Most of the developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada offer product patent regime to inventors. Apart from this most of the countries that are signatories of TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) offer product patent regime. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
The major benefit of a product patent system is that it gives a higher level of protection to the inventor as there will not be any other patent holder. However, the disadvantage of such a system is, that since the number of competitors is less, chances of monopoly is more which is a major problem in a society which is not developed and a larger fraction of the population is struggling for basic necessities.
Process patents- Process patent is a kind of protection given to inventors for a certain process of creating or manufacturing a product. Most of the developing countries like India and Argentina offer a process patent regime to its inventors and creators. In other words, we can say is that under a process patent regime the protection is granted for a particular manufacturing process, and not for the product itself. The same product can be produced with some other process or simply altering various parameters of a method.
The major benefit of having a process patent regime is that the government will have a control on the monopoly of mighty multinational companies and interests of poor people can be safeguarded. However, the drawback of having such a regime is that it may discourage pharmaceutical companies from investing their hard earned money in such an ecosystem due to low-profit margin. Compulsory licensing is a common practice in such a patent regime wherein government can force companies to manufacture certain product for the sake of public interests. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Product-by-Process patents- A product-by-process patent/claim defines a product in terms of the method (manipulative steps) used to manufacture the same. This patent is commonly granted in such a situation when the product could not be defined or distinguished from the prior art except by reference to the process by which the product is made. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents
Even though product-by-process claims are limited by and defined by the process, determination of patentability is based on the product itself. The patentability of a product does not depend on its method of production. If the product in the product-by-process claim is the same as or obvious from a product of the prior art, the claim is unpatentable even though the prior product was made by a different process.
Formulation patent- Such protections claims the pharmaceutical dosage form of the drug, commonly also known as a composition. However, composition should not be confused with the ‘composition of matter’. It may take the form of a formulation of a particular drug or class of drugs, or a general formulation applicable to many drugs with different actions, such as slow-release technologies, transdermal patches, etc. The type of patents should be taken into consideration while doing a comprehensive patent search as it allows searchers narrow their searches. Types of Pharmaceutical Patents