Encouraging Innovation Through Patent Linkage

Intellectual property rights protection is key to growing biopharmaceutical innovation. When governments do not enforce these rights, generic versions of a drug can be approved for market before an inventor’s patent has expired. This undermining of IP protection removes the incentive for new drug development and can result in lengthy patent disputes between inventors and generic drug manufacturers.

Some countries have begun to push for legislation that prevents patent infringement. At the forefront are Taiwanese authorities, who are looking to encourage innovation through patent linkage, according to a paper published by the Geneva Network.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and its IP office have designed legislation that links the patent status of a medicine and regulatory approval of a generic drug. This enforcement would prevent generic drug approval while a patent is still valid. 

"What [patent linkage] can help to achieve is a pharmaceutical innovation ecosystem where innovators are fairly rewarded for their R&D investments and where generic drugs can enter the market in a less risky and more efficient manner” 

– Jack Ellis, Geneva Network 

Governments can join Taiwan, the U.S., Korea and other countries who have begun to advocate for early resolution mechanisms that benefit their economies and all parties involved in biopharmaceutical innovation. When patent owners feel confident their rights are protected and will be enforced, investment in the research, development and innovation of life saving treatments and cures can continue to grow.

Read this article in Mandarin here.