http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.20Change: 0.17
R/$ = 11.58Change: 0.07
Au 1198.59 $/ozChange: 4.13
Pt 1200.50 $/ozChange: 3.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
May 25, 2012

Pharmaceuticals giants go head-to-head for intellectual property rights

Back
Expertise|Adcock Ingram|Africa|Defence|Design|Merck & Co|Safety|Testing|Africa|South Africa|Manufacturing|Pharmaceutical Brands|Pharmaceutical Products|Pharmaceuticals|Pharmaceuticals Giant|Pharmaceuticals Heavyweight|Product|Products|Treatment Of Hypertension|Hypertension|Abofele Khoele|Carl Van Rooyen|David Cochrane|Lisinopril|Zemax|Biotechnology
Expertise|Africa|Defence|Design|Safety|Testing|Africa||Manufacturing|Products|||||
expertise|adcock-ingram|africa-company|defence|design|merck-co|safety|testing|africa|south-africa|manufacturing|pharmaceutical-brands|pharmaceutical-products|pharmaceuticals|pharmaceuticals-giant|pharmaceuticals-heavyweight|product|products|treatment-of-hypertension|hypertension|abofele-khoele|carl-van-rooyen|david-cochrane|lisinopril|zemax|biotechnology-technology
© Reuse this



The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last month ruled in favour of pharmaceuticals giant Adcock Ingram over a trademark dispute with competitor Cipla Medpro.

The companies locked horns over their registered trademarks for the generic of Lisinopril, which is used to treat mild to moderate hypertension and certain cardiac conditions. Lisinopril was originally patented by international pharmaceuticals heavyweight Merck & Co in 1989.

Last year, Adcock Ingram submitted an application to the Pretoria High Court to have Cipla’s registration for its Zemax trademark revoked, arguing that it was too similar to Adcock Ingram’s Zetomax trademark, which was registered before Zemax.

The High Court dismissed Adcock Ingram’s application, ruling in favour of Cipla. Adcock Ingram then appealed the decision with the SCA, which overturned the High Court ruling last month and ordered that Cipla’s Zemax trademark be removed from the Register of Trademarks.

The SCA also confirmed the right of patients in South Africa to be involved in the process of deciding on their medication, even prescription medication, a decision that countered Cipla’s defence.

Cipla argued that both Zetomax and Zemax can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription and that, because doctors and pharmacists are trained to know about the products, it is not possible for them to confuse the two competing trademarks.

Cipla’s argument was supported by a 1983 Pretoria High Court decision that found a patient’s prescription to be the sole responsibility of the doctor and not the patient.

The SCA, however, took into account Section 8 of the National Health Act, which gives a patient the right to participate “in any decision affecting his or her personal health and treatment”. The SCA also referred to Section 22(F) of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which deals with generic substitution.

The SCA agreed with Adcock Ingram that this section of the Medicines and Related Substances Act obliges pharmacists to inform patients of the advantages of generic substitution and so involve patients in the decision-making process. Adcock Ingram’s argument is that the patients contribute to the decision regarding whether trademarks are likely to be confused and their views should, therefore, also be taken into account.

The SCA also remarked that the Pretoria High Court’s 1983 ruling that a patient’s prescription is the doctor’s responsibility is unrealistic in present-day circumstances, where patients play an active role in relation to their health.

“Adcock Ingram is delighted with this ruling,” says medical executive Dr Abofele Khoele, adding that Zetomax will continue to be available as a generic alternative for the treatment of hypertension and certain cardiac conditions.

“The SCA ruling finalised the ongoing debate about whether the views of patients should be taken into account, specifically with regard to the questionable confusion between pharmaceutical brands,” says patent and trademark firm Spoor & Fisher partner Carl van Rooyen, who is also part of Adcock Ingram’s team of attorneys at Spoor & Fisher.

“Pharmaceuticals companies will have to take greater care when choosing names for medicines to ensure they are not confused with other medicines,” he says, adding that this ruling could have far-reaching implications for Cipla, as it will probably be forced to rebrand its Zemax product.

Medical and Pharmaceutical Patents
Trademarks refer specifically to the brand of a particular product and the name that identifies it. Companies who trademark their products are entitled to protect that brand name for the rest of the product’s existence.

Patents, however, which protect new ideas and innovations, are limited to a 20-year period. In the medical and pharmaceuticals world, patents protect products, including the active ingredients in a particular medicine, new pharmaceutical formulations and medical devices.

“The 20-year monopoly provided by a patent incentivises companies to develop new products. Once developed, the product will become available to the generics market.

“However, the development of new pharmaceutical products and medical devices, which involves testing the efficacy and safety of those products and securing regulatory approval to get those products on the market, is very costly,” says Spoor & Fisher patent attorney David Cochrane.

“Most pharmaceuticals companies obtain patents because it’s quite easy to analyse products once they’re on the market,” he says. “So, to protect themselves, most pharmaceuticals companies use patents.”

He adds that the patent document has to provide full details of the product, and that this actually encourages development. “A pharmaceuticals company gets 20 years of protection for bringing in the new product but, in return, [the company has] to share that knowledge to help develop better products.”

However, patents also become contentious issues when it comes to pharmaceutical intellectual property. “It’s about the generic companies wanting to get into the market,” says Cochrane. “If they think the patent is weak or should not have been granted, they can attack that patent and apply for it to be revoked before the 20-year period has ended.”

Alternatively, generic companies wait until the end of the 20-year period and, thereafter, bring the generic of that product onto the market as soon as possible.

Medical devices can also be protected by registered designs, which protect what a product looks like, because each medical device will look different from other devices. A registered design can protect the appearance of a product for up to 15 years.

“Biotechnology is another field where the development of new genes and new technolo- gies is patented,” says Cochrane, adding that attorneys who handle patents in medicine and biology need to have specialised in each specific area to understand it, and know how to protect it by law.

Cochrane mentions that companies like biopharmaceutical discovery company Shimoda Biotech and drug development company iThemba Pharmaceuticals, which are developing new pharmaceutical products, as well as orthopaedic implant specialist Southern Medical, which is developing and manufacturing advanced and high-quality orthopaedic implants, are protecting their research with patents locally and internationally, with a view to commercialising the products internationally.

“We need more South African companies to follow this route,” he says.

Cochrane is a patents attorney with a background in chemistry, whose expertise is handling pharmaceutical patents, formulations and how the active ingredients in medicines are made. “When it comes to biotechnology patents, however, [Spoor & Fisher] has patent attorneys with a biotechnology background who under- stand that technology.”

Similarly, a patent attorney who is also a mechanical engineer, and who under- stands exactly how medical devices work, handles the medical device patenting at the law firm.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Competition Policy News
European Union antitrust regulators approved on Monday the proposed merger of France's Lafarge and Swiss peer Holcim to create the world's biggest cement maker. The European Commission said the companies had agreed to sell most of their overlapping businesses to...
The Competition Commission has, following a commission meeting on Tuesday, recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the merger between information technology services group Dimension Data (DiData) and the three divisions of Internet service provider MWEB be...
Following engagements with several stakeholders which stressed the need for the development of rules governing administrative penalties, the Competition Commission has published for public comment draft guidelines for the determination of administrative penalties for...
More
 
 
Latest News
Lumwana, Zambia
Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp will suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine, in Zambia’s Northwestern province, after the country enacted legislation that raised the royalty rate on openpit mining operations from 6% to 20%. TSX- and NYSE-listed Barrick, the world’s...
The Labour Court in Johannesburg has set aside the 2011-2014 metal sector wage agreement, the National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) said on Thursday. The 2011-2014 wage deal was the result of an agreement between the Steel and Engineering Industries...
South African cement firm PPC on Wednesday named a mining industry veteran as chief executive, ending a three-month leadership vacuum that has hit its shares. PPC's former CE Ketso Gordhan abruptly resigned in September after clashing with the board. He then...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
TO BE PHASED INTO SERVICE The first MeerKAT dish, with another 63 to come
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
MATT BARKER Wireless networks should enable users to engage and must provide relevant information to them based on their activity and location
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks