The recent study which I undertook on pharmaceutical lifecycle management yielded some interesting findings apart from decreasing periods of monopoly and earlier patent filings by non-innovators (both of which I have previously written about). There are more articles to come in this series, but it’s timely to raise an interesting observation I made along the way.
One of the many other interesting observations was the way that the period of monopoly can be enhanced by strategic acquisition of third party intellectual property (in this context, read ‘patents’). It’s been known for a while that such acquisitions might be useful, but what’s interesting is that they are really coming to the fore.
A classic example of this was Servier‘s acquisition of a host of Perindopril (Coversyl) patents owned by Lupin last April. Here’s an example of a generic company innovating around the synthetic process, filing patents and realising their commercial opportunity by selling the patents to the innovator (rather than through sales of the drug as a generic alternative). A nice alternativeto the straight generic play.
This strategy only takes a fairly routine patent surveillance program by the innovator on its own product and a willingness to undertake due diligence on anything of interest. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to only apply to innovators. I can imagine situations where one generic will acquire patents from another, or, heretical as it now seems, several generics may form a patent pool in order to collectively leverage their IP. (This is common in other industries and used to great effect.)