At the 2021 Dublin Plant Protection Symposium, Dr Nigel Uttley of Enigma Marketing Research gave a presentation titled “Patent searching for generic agrochemical companies”.
Patent data are essential for generic companies, so they can know when it’s possible to enter the market. As Dr Uttley noted, some 42 major commercial active substances are losing their patent protection in the current decade. The primary patent is that of the active substance, which is relatively easy to identify and gives a 20-year expiry date. However, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) and other types of patent term extension are also very important but more difficult to identify. Throughout his presentation, Dr Uttley gave examples of how patent holders have used various strategies to protect their market share.
SPCs – first introduced in 1992 for pharmaceuticals and a few years later for agrochemicals – acknowledge that the normal effective patent term gives too short a period of market exclusivity in order for companies to recoup their R&D costs. It provides up to 5 years of additional patent protection and is issued on a country-by-country basis.
Patents covering mixtures of two or more active substances are of use in defending markets against competition from generics. Formulation patents and patents covering manufacturing processes can have some practical and commercial significance but are mainly used as a “smoke screen” to deter generic companies. Finally, patents may also be granted for a new use of an active substance that wasn’t covered by the original patent.
If you need assistance with the EU registration of generic active substances and products, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like a copy of Dr Uttley’s presentation, you can purchase the slides from the PPP Symposium here: https://kerona.es/product/dublin-plant-protection-symposium-2021-speakers-presentations/