Thursday, 23 December 2010

Brazil: extending patent protection, a generous affair to whom?

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ) decided last Thursday, December 16, 2010, to deny patent extension to the drug Plavix, used to treat arterial thrombosis.

The current Industrial Property Law, published in 1996, included the pipeline system that protects inventions of pharmaceutical and chemical patents that could not be registered before. Through this mechanism, the patent would have a year to be made to the INPI and worth the time remaining in the country where it was first applied.

The patent application for Plavix was first made in France in 1987. As the patent is valid for 20 years, the Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI) granted protection until 2007. Nevertheless, the laboratory has obtained an extension in France until 2013 and sought to gain equal rights in Brazil. However, the Supreme Court upheld the 37th Federal Circuit decision and denied such extension.

The TSJ explained that patent extension would hurt the Brazilian law, because the maximum term is 20 years. Moreover, it was considered that the extension would contravene the public interest.

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