The latest court-room news in Pfizer’s long-running, and much-watched, battle to protect its Viagra patent in China has been reported by Forbes (and was picked up by China Law Blog and others over the weekend). Forbes reports:
“In what is seen as a landmark ruling in support of greater intellectual property rights protection for foreign companies in China, a Beijing court has backed U.S. drug company Pfizer’s patents for its anti-male impotence drug, Viagra.”
In 2004 China’s patent review board had supported a claim by leading local drug makers that challenged Pfizer’s patent on sildenafil citrate, the main chemical ingredient in Viagra, on the basis that it failed to satisfy the “novelty” requirement of Chinese law. As I recall, this was not an entirely back and white issue, and some legal technicalities were involved. (Also, while China got a lot of flak over this issue, it should also be remembered that Pfizer also lost patent protection for Viagra through similar challenges in Colombia and Venezuela).
The ruling follows a number of positive IPR decisions over the past few months, and a promise from Hu Jintao, during his US trip, that IP rights would bet better protection. (See a recent IPR post here). It also follows moves by China to strengthen its “innovative economy” with the promotion of R&D…and IPR protection (see here).
China Law Blog notes that:
- ”Pfizer’s case will now be returned to the patent review board at China’s State Intellectual Property Office and the board will have 15 days to decide whether to appeal the Beijing court’s decision. Pfizer’s patent has and will remain in effect until the appeal process is finished.”:
So much for the court ruling. But now that hurdle has been cleared, what about enforcement? At least we can look forward to some entertaining headlines…
See related news:
Pfizer Wins Key China Court Ruling
Forbes – USA
In what is seen as a landmark ruling in support of greater intellectual property rights protection for foreign companies in China, a Beijing court has backed …