Patenting in Pharmaceutical Industry: An Indian Perspective

Intellectual Property

The pharma industry is continuously growing as one of the most profound ‘knowledge-driven’ sectors. Since the researches in this sector are expensive and unpredictable, it is vital to safeguard their outcomes, which can be a new and inventive product or process. Granted patent, which can aid pharmaceutical companies to prevent any unauthorized commercial use of their inventions, is the best means to avoid infringement in this industry. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and geographical indication are the forms of Intellectual Property Rights derived for safeguarding the Intellectual Property (IP). Remember that not all rights can protect all types of intangible property. For instance – when it comes to pharmaceutical products, patents (out of all the forms of IPR) appear more valuable to protect the inventors’ invention.

What does Patent in Pharmaceutical Industry mean?

Patent, in this sector, refers to the legal protection for the inventors’ inventions, including new and useful medicines or drugs discovered by the research-based pharmaceutical firms. The patent rights on drugs mean that only the patentee can manufacture, use, and sell the patented drug. The patent can also provide solutions for technical issues, but to obtain those benefits by getting the invention patented, the inventors should ensure that their ideas satisfy the criteria of patentability.

What is the Criteria of Patentability in Pharma Industry?

As the Indian Patent Law states – an invention, whether or not related to the pharma sector, is patentable only if it meets the following requirements:

i) Newness/ uniqueness: The process or product must be unique, i.e., it should not be available or known to anybody in the world before the date of filing.

ii) Non-obvious: The invention should include features that make it non-obvious even to the skilled persons, for example – it should have advancements over existing knowledge or methods.

iii) Industrial Applicability: The process or product should fit the relevant industry.  For instance – a new approach of removing tumor cells from the patient’s body is not patented because it is industrially not applicable.

What are the Types of Pharmaceutical Patents?

If dealing with processes or products that pertain to a comparatively more intense ‘knowledge-driven’ industry, i.e., the pharma sector, the inventor should be more careful about patenting his inventions. Alike in other areas, the patents in the pharmaceutical industry are also territorially bound. Note that even the classification of patents varies from country to country and as per the Indian patent law, the pharmaceutical patents are classified under the following categories:

  1. Drug Compound Patents

The patents that claim any drug compound by considering its chemical composition fall under this category. Known as Markush type claims, these patents serve the inventor of a drug with the broadest protection by preventing others from preparing, using, or selling a similar drug. As long as the granted patent is valid, no one except the owner is allowed to produce or use any formulation involving his drug.

  1. Synergistic Combination Patents

Drug synergy happens when two or more drugs interact with each other to magnify or enhance the effects of the drugs. Patent law, granted by the Indian government under this type, allows the inventors to protect the new synergistic combinations of the drugs.

  1. Technology Patents

The patents under this category are associated with the techniques pharmaceutical companies use to solve specific technology-based issues, including taste-masking, stabilization, and increase in the solubility. Once obtained the patent, the inventors can prevent the usage of the same techniques.

  1. Polymorph Patents

Polymorphs refer to various physical forms or crystal structures of an existing compound. Firms produce them to lessen the impurities or upsurge the stability of their already known compounds. Due to the polymorph patents, innovative companies can safeguard the improved versions of their original or existing drugs.

  1. Process Patents

These are the patents that focus on the process of producing drugs rather than drugs. The process patents in India have been bestowing the inventors to produce and get the same products patented, but only if the process used to create them is novel.

What are the Benefits of Pharmaceutical Patents?

  • Patents in the pharma industry contribute to around 80% of the total revenue generated and is the main component adding to the growth of a drug manufacturer.
  • The granted patent is vital to protect not just products but also the innovative approaches to produce them.
  • By preventing the competitors or others from copying any drug, treatment, or medication, patent rights avoid patent infringement.
  • Patents in the pharma industry help in obtaining a remarkably good return on the high investments made to research, manufacture, and launch a new drug.

Aiming at balancing and fulfilling the requirements of both; the pharmaceutical companies and the consumers, the patent law in India is one of the best examples of patent legislation. Today, a wide range of pharmaceutical products and processes can obtain patent protection. However, before filing the Patent Application, the researchers or inventors of pharmaceutical products or processes must know about the criteria of patentability and the type of patents. It will aid them in obtaining the benefits of patent protection without any hassle. For more visit:

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