Why Are Drug Patents Important

If you want to find out why drug patents are important, you’ll first need to understand what a patent is. Particularly, a patent is a type of intellectual property right that provides protection over an invention. Therefore, if you, as an inventor have a patent, no one else can create, use, manufacture, or sell your invention without your prior approval.

Drug patents are particularly important as new and improved drugs are being introduced to the market every year. The pharmaceutical sector has advanced over the years, which has led to the introduction of several drugs that have saved the lives of millions. These drugs have also generated a significant amount of revenue for their commercial benefits.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical sector is an area in which innovation impacts the bottom line of those drug manufacturers, as such companies focus more on the research and development stages of various drugs to determine which ones will survive and thrive if being released into the market.

Innovation in the drug industry is important for many reasons:

• It is a key element that defines the success of a drug manufacturer.

• While it can increase the risk involved when developing drugs, the benefits drastically outweigh the risk, as innovation allows pharmaceutical companies to distinguish themselves.

• Innovation provides high returns on investment. While developing and launching a new drug involves incredibly high costs, the rate of return on successful drugs can be much higher than the costs associated with introducing the drug to the market.

• Innovation allows for even higher profitability and better profit margins once the government approves of the drug.

• Innovation is important for these companies because more and more money is spent on marketing and research of potential drugs. If these drugs don’t make it to market, then time and money are spent. Therefore, innovative approaches must be taken to determine how such pharma companies can make a return on their investment without losing too much money.

• The cost of bringing a new drug to market is approximately $5 billion and can take near 15 years to get a drug introduced to the market.

• While the cost of bringing a new drug to market can be so high, drug companies are trying to increase profits by marketing current drugs to enhance the success of those drugs that they are currently manufacturing, and are on the market.

The Benefits of Drug Patents

• Patents contribute to roughly 80% of the overall revenue of pharmaceutical companies.

• Obtaining patent protection is important to safeguard the innovative approaches used by pharma companies.

• Drug patents help recoup investments that are incurred during the research and development stage.

• Drug patents can secure against infringement cases, as competitors can easily duplicate the manufacturing of a drug.

• Drug patents help raise venture capital, which thus improves the overall economic growth of companies operating in this industry.

Requirements for Patent Protection

Not all drugs can be patented; more broadly, not all inventions are patentable. There are certain criterion that must be met in order to be able to apply for patent protection, and these include:

• The invention must be non-obvious

• The invention must be new

• The invention must be useful

An invention is non-obvious if when comparing the invention to other previously patented inventions, it doesn’t provide the same type of support or disclose the same type of information as in other inventions. This specific criterion is one of the most important items when considering patentability of an invention. It also helps to identify what type of competition would be out there for such an invention.

The invention must be new, and not already in existence. This includes any inventions that were previously patented, whether the invention is identical or very similar in nature. It is also important to keep in mind that if the invention is being used, you may run into a problem. If that invention is being used but has no patent protection, it still has common law protection. But, if you submit your patent application for the same invention, you may be successful in obtaining patent protection, as the other inventor should have patented his or her invention to obtain full protection rights over the invention.

Lastly, the invention must be useful, meaning that it must have a purpose. This is probably the most easily understand factor, as the invention must have a use, whether it be to assist in some sort of problem or benefit the user in some way.

If you need help learning more about drug patents, or if you need assistance applying for a drug patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.