The word “property” may conjure a number of different images. It may make some think of home, a place to settle down in, or perhaps a business asset of some kind. Others may think of family heirlooms, classic cars, things with enormous value, both in a market sense and in a sentimental sense.
But most properties are nothing like this. Most properties are intangible — consisting instead of ideas, plans or concepts. We cannot hold them in our hands, but they are still important to us, and so they must be protected.
In the pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property protection is particularly crucial. This is because your intellectual property is usually the product of a whole lot of hard work, rigorous testing, and extensive research. It’s just not fair that someone can swoop in and steal something you’ve worked so hard on, and you have every right to prevent this from happening. In fact, there is a whole host of reasons why intellectual property is crucial to pharma, which we’ll be exploring later on.
Protecting your intellectual property
In the United States, you can protect your IP with either a trademark or a patent. We are going to be focusing more on patents here as this is the most relevant to the pharma industry.
Of course, this is not to say that you don’t need a trademark. In order to apply for a trademark, you will need to be able to properly identify the goods or services you offer while also making sure that trademark does not infringe on any existing property or any state or federal laws.
It is a patent that you can use to protect your ideas and your inventions. Many different things can be patented, ranging from new ways to handle chemicals and other materials to unique formulas for developing medications and treatments. However, patents are only available in three different types. And, it is usually one of the first two types that will apply to the pharma industry, although in some cases the third may also be relevant.
- Utility patents: If you have developed a new machine or some kind of new material, you can file a utility patent. However, utility patents also apply to intangibles, such as a new process.
- Design patents: Any new design, whether or not this design has been realized, can be patented under this category. This includes designs for new treatments and medications.
- Plant patents: You can file a plant patent for the discovery or creation of a scientifically distinct variety of flora.
Applying for these patents is a crucial step towards protecting your IP, but it is not a definitive one. It is up to you to make sure that no one steals your intellectual property or attempts to manipulate or infringe on any of your creations. The patent you filed will help you make sure you get the legal recourse you deserve, but it is up to you to make sure this happens! The patent office will not enforce your patent on your behalf.
Why is it so important to protect your pharma IP?
There are many reasons why your IP is worth protecting. Here are just a few:
- It protects your revenue and makes your investments worthwhile.
- It promotes innovative approaches to pharma development as research teams know that their work will be safeguarded.
- Consumers are protected because they are assured of product quality.
- Businesses compete on a level playing field, driving economic growth in the industry.
- Patents are genuinely effective and will stand up in court if there are any attempts to infringe on your newly developed processes, treatments, or medicines.
With all of these in mind, make sure to protect your IP at each stage of the process — from the initial design and development right through the manufacturing of medications or other solutions and beyond.