Updated on 8 October 2012
Are changes in the US patent law a good sign for biotech?
Singapore: The US has been making several modifications to its patent laws lately and this is impacting the global biotech industry substantially. The US took a major step on September 16, 2011, by implementing the America Invents Act on September 16, 2011. This has affected the way patent applications are filed in the US. The new Act brings the system in line with the rest of the world. The previous system was emphasized more on the first person who invent the entity rather than the date of the first filing application.
Dr Lisa Haile, partner, Life Sciences Practice, DLA Piper, US, feels that the above mentioned Act and other such recent developments in the US patent law will have an impact on the biotechnology industry globally.
While speaking in this regard, Dr Haile, said that, "Essentially we are trying to conform with the rest of the world, where previously it was cumbersome to have a set of laws different from the rest of the world with respect to filing dates. This puts everyone on the same footing. With a global economy it makes sense to have the same criteria to recognise who is first to get to the patent office for an invention. This will push people to file a little bit earlier in the US, whereas previously, they often relied on laboratory notebooks for evidence or earlier inventions."
Dr Haile will be in Australia as part of a panel discussion on 'Recent Developments in US & Australian Patent Law and their Impact on the Biotechnology Industry', at the upcoming AusBiotech conference 2012. She also said that some specific changes will streamline the US into adhering with global practices already in place that will save time and cost from a litigation standpoint.
Another big change was made to the US patent law took place on September 16, 2012, according to which, where once lodged, patent submissions go through a post-grant review process similar to the procedure in Europe where it is open for nine months for anyone to oppose the patent.