Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Courtenay Brinckerhoff is quoted in The National Law Journal article, “Letter Urging Patent Office Crack Down on Big Pharma Draws Industry Lawyer's Scorn, Critic's Praise,” discussing the push by some U.S. lawmakers to urge the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to use its authority to ensure pharmaceutical companies avoid tactics such as piling patents on a single product to keep lower-cost drugs off market.
Brinckerhoff said in her experience, she has not encountered a significant or unwarranted number of patents for a given medication. “For example, one approved drug might have three to seven patents in my experience,” she explained. “So of course, there are outliers, but it’s not that every pharmaceutical product or every newer pharmaceutical product is covered by 20 or 50 patents.”
“To some extent, the current congressional concerns are addressing a perceived problem that I’m not sure is the problem or is a real problem,” she added. “A lot of these things aren’t things that the patent office can do. They would require changes in the law that Congress would have to do.”