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Intellectual property protection is of particular importance in the pharmaceutical field and yet patents in this area can present unique challenges. Patent applications for a new chemical entities often form the crux of a patent portfolio and are may be a valuable asset for protecting a future product or securing inward investment. Yet these applications are often filed at a very early stage in a development project, when the future of the project remains uncertain. Our specialists in this area are skilled in drafting and prosecuting these applications, recognising the constraints that often come with early stage projects, yet with the experience to provide you with robust protection that you will be able to rely on in years to come.

We are also experienced in handling patent applications for new formulations, re-purposed medicines, botanicals, processes and polymorphs and new combinations of known active ingredients. We can advise on the development of your overall portfolio, and work with you as you move through the stages of pre-clinical and clinical development to ensure that your patent portfolio develops alongside your product. We have the knowledge of not only prosecuting applications in these more specialist areas of pharmaceutical patents, but also of the potential challenges that can arise after grant. These patents often face opposition via European Patent Office (EPO) opposition proceedings and/or national litigation. We are frequently involved in both attacking and defending patents across Europe.

One particular challenge in this area is the variation in patent office practice throughout the world. For example, different patent office’s take different approaches to medical use claims, to the amount of supporting data required in the specification as filed and to new supporting data filed during prosecution of an application or during opposition proceedings. For a given invention, it is common for us to file and prosecute applications in all of the world's major industrial countries and our attorneys draft applications with this global perspective in mind. We have developed an in-house resource specifically to capture our up-to-date experience of best practice before patent offices throughout the world allowing us to coordinate prosecution in spite of variation in local approach. We are acknowledged experts in obtaining Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) for pharmaceutical products, and also work closely with colleagues experienced in vaccines and antibodies and biologics.