How to Conduct Patent Searches for Medicines. A Step-by-Step Guide
(2010; 120 pages)


The globalization of intellectual property protection on medical products changes how developing country health authorities and procurement bodies make their decisions with respect to purchasing medicines. Whereas previously the decision to procure more cost-effective generic versions of medicines may not have required the consideration of intellectual property protection, that is no longer the case.

Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), Member States of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with developing country status were required to start examining patent applications and providing patent protection on medicines either by 1 January 2000 or by 1 January 2005. Many developing countries implemented patent protection on medicines much earlier than the required deadline. Today, patents on medicines are being granted in developing countries, and medicines under patent are entering the market.

This change in the patent laws of developing countries now requires local health authorities and procurement bodies to establish in advance of purchasing decisions whether patent(s) on a particular medicine have been filed, granted, lapsed or expired. Having such information in hand can help to decide whether more cost-effective medicines can be procured from alternative sources without the risk of patent infringement...The purpose of this guide is to provide a starting point for health authorities, procurement bodies and others to identify whether patents relating to a pharmaceutical product exist in the country of interest...

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