Title: Searching for patents on essential medicines in developing countries: a methodology

Authors: Barbara Milani, Cecilia Oh

Addresses: 5, Rue Jean Dassier, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland. ' 623/2 Soi Nora Uthit, Thanon Nakhon Chaisi, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

Abstract: Although the 2001 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health confirmed the right of countries to use measures to ensure access to affordable medicines, only few countries in the developing world have done so. One factor for this scant use of the so-called TRIPS flexibilities has been the lack of accurate information on the patent status of the relevant medicines in developing countries. Clearly, there is a need for a systematic and pragmatic approach to speedily obtain data on the patent status of essential medicines, so that governments and procurement agencies can make informed decisions on available options for production and procurement of generic medicines. A simple and practical method is described in this paper, which enables searches for relevant patent data from publicly available (and free) sources of information. Using a combination of data from patent offices and medicine regulatory authorities that are available on the internet, this methodology provides an inexpensive and pragmatic option to perform a quick search and access patent information on essential medicines.

Keywords: generic medicines; pharmaceutical patents; patent protection; patent families; patent status; developing countries; medicines procurement; medicine production; international agreements; trade related aspects; intellectual property rights; access to medicines; essential medicines; patent searching; Doha Declaration; public health; WTO; World Trade Organization; affordable medicines; TRIPS flexibilities; accurate information; governments; procurement agencies; informed decisions; available options; free information; publicly available information; patent data; patent offices; regulatory authorities; internet; world wide web; intellectual property management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2011.041083

International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, 2011 Vol.4 No.3, pp.191 - 209

Available online: 30 Jun 2011 *

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