Health and patent law are in a tense relationship: On the one hand everyone should have access to high-quality, safe and efficient medicine. Swissmedic is committed to achieving this through its approval procedures according to the Therapeutic Products Act. Medical care on the other hand is a high-tech field par excellence and as such deserves solid patent protection – just as any other technology.
The patent law is applicable and enables patent protection for pharmaceutical research results. However, numerous special provisions of law take into account the special interests involved in this field. The law assures e.g. the freedom of action for pharmacists and medical doctors and applies special restrictions to gene technology. On the other hand the grant of supplementary protection certificates for regulated products such as medicaments introduces a prolongation of patent protection beyond the regular 20 years.
Moreover it is pointed out that patent infringement is particularly expensive in the pharmacological field. The conflicts between generic drugs and original products is reflected in numerous infringement litigations – often fought through several instances both in Switzerland and abroad. A coordinated strategy, accurate knowledge of the legal situation and experience at courts are required for a successful course of action.
In the pharmaceutical field, we have proven experience regarding patent prosecution, supplementary protection certificates and litigation at the Swiss Federal Patent Court.