Successful patent prosecution protects a business’s investment in the development of new products or processes. Many businesses that develop new products, including pharmaceutical companies, often seek patents for new discoveries as soon as possible. Doing so allows the business to have a better chance at recouping what it invested in research. A single new drug developed for distribution in the United States could be the source of multiple patents. Oftentimes, patents give a company sole control over a concept until the patent expires or they license the patented process.
Occasionally, outside parties will claim that a patent is not valid and may seek to challenge existing patents that another company holds. For example, Novo Nordisk is currently at risk of having one of three patents for a new set of drugs overturned by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A competitor filed three patent challenges
When a drug offers a completely new treatment option not yet replicated by other medications, manufacturers may have a hard time keeping up with demand. That has certainly been the case for the popular drugs Ozempic and Wegovy released by Noro Nordisk. These drugs have found roaring success as prescriptions for appetite suppression to achieve weight loss. Members of the public, hoping to lose weight and frustrated by the traditional means of doing so, may go to their doctors specifically requesting these drugs.
Manufacturers who make generic versions of popular drugs are eager to break into the market for these increasingly popular weight loss medications. Unfortunately, three patents protecting those drugs have prevented the development of generic alternatives thus far. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which is part of Viatris. raised claims about three of the company’s patents, but the USPTO dismissed two of those three matters. The organization will continue to review the third matter, and the final determination in the case could have major implications both for Noro Nordisc and companies that hope to manufacture generic alternatives.
Organizations that seek to break into a market without violating another company’s patent and organizations that want to protect their existing patents may need help when there are concerns about potential infringement. Working with outside representation may be necessary even when organizations already have in-house representation if they need to litigate complex matters related to patents due to the complex and resource-intensive nature of these disputes.