In January, the latest issue of WHO Drug Information was released. The issue can be found at the following link:
In this issue, Médecins Sans Frontières’ recent on-line database for patent opposition was described including details with respect to its successful opposition of an Indian patent application directed to a combination HIV treatment. A link to the database follows: http://patentoppositions.org
This on-line resource is described as “a tool which can be used to explore how to challenge unfair patents and their negative impact on access to medicines.” The Patent Opposition Database provides a tutorial on how to file oppositions in various jurisdictions including Brazil and India, offers approaches for identifying relevant patents and prior art, and hints on how to build arguments for an opposition.
The Patent Opposition website also provides a central depot for information on existing patent oppositions, patent office decisions and court cases etc.
The option of submitting documents with respect to drug patents anonymously for publication on the website is also available. The website identifies patent oppositions, patent applications, patent office decisions, prior art, court cases, literatures, legislation, patent searches, corrections, and a general “other” content type as the type of content eligible for submission. What was unclear to me from the website is if the Patent Applicant was notified following the submission and publication on the website of prior art and other documents. Presumably, if the Patent Applicant was notified and there is a corresponding U.S. patent application the Applicant would have a duty to disclose this information to the USPTO.
It will be interesting to see if oppositions or other information described in this database will more have a more global impact on an Applicant’s patent rights.
By: Claire Palmer