The pharmaceutical domain is one of the most litigated spheres in the arena of patents and innovations. Thus, before filing a patent in the field of pharmaceutics every measure should be taken to ensure that you are not reinventing the wheel or infringing someone else’s protected rights. The best way to ensure this is by getting acquainted with various kinds of patents that are available in the pharmaceutical field. As a draftsperson, it is important for them to know various kinds of patents available in the field of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutics so as to avoid any kind of untoward incidence in the long run. Pharmaceutical Patents
Kinds of Pharmaceutical Patents
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 by doing so it 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. Pharmaceutical Patents
While such kinds of patents offer a higher degree of protection and could be a conducive one to encourage innovation it may lead to monopoly, as there will be dearth of competitors for the same product. A product patent regime could be detrimental for those societies that are not developed and where most of the people are struggling to earn their bread and butter.
Process patents- Contrary to the product patent, a process patent is granted to an inventor for certain process of creating or manufacturing a drug. While a process patent regime could be useful for poor people it may discourage innovations and inventions. In developing worlds like India and Argentina a process patent regime is functioning and thus before filing a patent in India, it is important that you remain acquainted with consequences of a process patent regime. Pharmaceutical Patents
Formulation patents- Such protections claims the pharmaceutical dosage form of the drug, commonly also known as a composition. However, the term ‘composition’ should not be confused with the term ‘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 types of patents should be taken into consideration while doing a comprehensive patent search as it allows searchers narrow their searches.
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. 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 not patentable even though the prior product was made by a different process.