Drug Patents Under the Spotlight. Sharing practical knowledge about pharmaceutical patents
(2003; 40 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the document1. Introduction
Close this folder2. Four key concepts to understanding drug patents
View the document2.1. The rationale for patents
View the document2.2. One pill, many patents
View the document2.3. International patents do not exist
View the document2.4. Existing patents may be invalid
Open this folder and view contents3. The patent system should respond to countries' public interest
View the document4. How to read and use the patent table
View the document5. Conclusions
View the document6. References
View the documentAnnex A - Patent Table
View the documentAnnex B - The anatomy of a patent

2. Four key concepts to understanding drug patents

Some people say that there are "pernicious myths" circulating about patents, pharmaceutical patents in particular, and that a "demystification" needs to take place. We couldn't agree more. In this chapter we will present some of the issues that most commonly arise on the subject of pharmaceutical patents. The general theme to bear in mind is diversity: different countries have the flexibility to adopt different options in designing their patent systems to best suit their own needs. What works for an OECD country may not work for a least developed country. A patent may be granted for an invention in one country, yet it may be perfectly legally rejected in another. A patent that has been granted in a country may be revoked if it turns out the patent office should not have granted it.

The way a patent is constructed is examined in Annex B with the help of a practical example: a patent for stavudine, a drug used in AIDS combination therapy.

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