Truly global patent specifications are the holy grail for applicants that file around the world. It’s easy to see why. If a specification meets the requirements of all the national patent offices in which protection is going to be sought the application will easier to prosecute and litigate locally and therefore cheaper overall.
On 17th October 2020, China approved the fourth amendment to the China Patent Law, which will come into effect on 1st June 2021. This amendment introduces a number of changes to Chinese patent law, with the introduction of patent term extensions (PTEs), patent term adjustments (PTAs) and a patent linkage system being of particular interest to both originator and generic pharmaceutical companies operating in China
At 1522 EDT on 30 May 2020, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in their Dragon capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral and into low Earth orbit, propelled by the mighty Falcon-9 rocket. This was the first time a private company had sent astronauts to the International Space Station, and the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 that anyone had travelled into space from US soil.
For some time now, it has been known that the Chinese government provides financial incentives to Chinese nationals and Chinese companies that file domestic and foreign patent, utility model, registered design, and trade mark applications. The Chinese government, for example, subsidises official fees and attorney fees, offers tax breaks, provides financial support, and issues rewards for patent and utility model utilisation. The idea of this generous arrangement is to increase the awareness of IP in China and to encourage Chinese innovators to learn how to protect their IP.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently issued a report summarising IP facts and figures for 2018. For this blog, we’ve picked out some interesting statistics from the data on patents. Record numbers of patent applications are being filed 2018 saw the number of new patent applications being filed in a calendar year exceed 3.3 million for the first time. This is an increase of 5.2% over 2017 and it is the ninth straight annual increase.
On Wednesday 15th January 2020, US president Donald Trump and Chinese vice-premier Liu He signed an economic and trade agreement which Mr Trump described as “the biggest deal anybody has even seen”. The deal promises to be the first phase of a larger new trade agreement between the US and China, signifying a de-escalation in their trade war – at least for now. Intellectual property (IP) was one of the main points of contention during the trade talks and thus it is perhaps unsurprising that IP matters are addressed in the first chapter. Of particular interest to those in the pharmaceutical sector will be Sections C and D of Chapter 1, which outline China’s commitment to improving protection and enforcement of pharmaceutical related patent rights. Sceptics will argue that these provisions simply represent a long overdue pledge by China to align its patent system with the US and other Western states, with no guarantee that they will actually implement or enforce the provisions of the agreement. However, in my view the deal appears to represent China’s willingness to do more to protect pharmaceutical patent rights and contains provisions that (if properly implemented and enforced) could significantly increase the value of drug related patents in China.