BIO represents a broad constituency of biotechnology and life sciences companies. LSIPR talks to BIO president and CEO Jim Greenwood about patent reform, healthcare, court cases and plans for the future.
Reform of the US patent system has been a long time coming. Year after year, it seems, US legislators get close to a consensus on satisfactory improvements to the patent system, only for their efforts to be scuppered by last-minute amendments, or other priorities, or just plain old disagreements. But this year, it might be different. A bill was approved earlier this year by the US Senate with broad bipartisan support. A similar bill is scheduled to be considered by the full House of Representatives in mid-June.
Assuming for now that the bill does get through in some form, what benefits would it bring to the biotechnology and life sciences industries? “BIO supports legislation that removes subjective elements of the patent system and provides a more reliable set of rules,” Greenwood says. “If patent reform is done in this way, the net effect will be positive.”
Specifically, provisions to allow the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) discretion to set its fees and keep collected fees should increase its resources and make it more effective, while harmonisation with the global norm on first-to-file will “bring us closer to a time when the same examination doesn’t have to be done in 15 countries”. Additionally, provisions to tackle the big-business bugbear of false patent marking suits will be welcome.
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BIO, Interview, Jim Greenwood, USPTO, Healthcare, Biotechnology