Friday, 27 July 2012

Will unified patent litigation affect the generic medicine market?

A short note in this week's PLC IT & Communications round-up drew my attention to the fact that the European Commission has published a report on its third monitoring exercise into patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector, covering the period January to December 2011. According to this note
"... The Commission has found that the number of concluded settlements has increased over the last three years. ... [T]he vast majority (89%) are prima facie unproblematic in competition terms. However, there was an increase in potentially problematic settlements during 2011 (although the overall level remains low). The Commission considers that this shows that there is a continuing need for it to continue to examine such patent settlements ..."
The Europa press release adds this comment:
"The Commission had also recommended to introduce an EU patent and a unified specialised patent litigation system in order to improve the fragmented patent system which currently causes legal uncertainty in patent disputes all over the EU, particularly as regards medicines, thus possibly contributing to delays of generic market entry. The Commission welcomes the progress made on the creation of a unitary patent system as well as a corresponding patent court".
More information concerning the report can be found in or via the Europa press release here.

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