The firm has a team of professionals with backgrounds reflecting the diversity of legal and technological fields required to support pharmaceutical product development.
Our specialist activities include advising on IP strategy, obtaining and enforcing patents, registered designs and trade marks to protect all aspects of pharmaceutical product development from drug discovery to formulation, packaging and brand protection. We also have considerable experience in IP portfolio management and corporate transactions involving transfers, licences, mergers and acquisitions.
Pharmaceutical research plays a decisive role in the continuing improvement in public health and economic growth. Drug development involves lengthy and costly R&D, clinical trials and regulatory procedures, such that it is not uncommon that ten to fifteen years elapse from the initial candidate compound screening to marketing approval.
Each year, vast amounts of capital are invested in pharmaceutical research, yet only a minute percentage of the screened compounds make it to the market as medicinal products. Unsurprisingly, many companies choose to increase and diversify their portfolio through the purchase of smaller entities with proven track records of successful R&D and/or through the development of generic products.
Intellectual property is an essential requirement for pharmaceutical companies to invest in the development of innovative life-changing and life-saving treatments and proves to be a valuable asset.
Patent provides an exclusive right that prevents others from making, keeping, using, importing, marketing or selling the patented invention during a protection period (usually 20 years) without the patent owner's permission. Patents can protect not only the drug compound itself, but also a variety of inventions arising from the research including for example drug synthesis and analysis, drug formulations, medical uses, packaging, medical devices and, in some jurisdictions, treatment and administration methods. Our experienced IP advisors can assist you in developing an IP strategy suited to your specific requirements.
Other types of intellectual property rights are available to the pharmaceutical industry. These include utility models, registered and unregistered designs, for example for the drug presentation and packaging, and trade marks for the brand and/or product name. Related rights are also available, including trade secret and know-how, data exclusivity and orphan drug exclusivity. These rights can offer non-negligible protection to delay generic competition.
A growing number of companies specialise in or consider expanding into the generics market. It is essential for these companies to check that they are not infringing third party IP rights before starting a project. In addition, today's research is increasingly directed to new uses, new formulations and new combinations of known compounds and care should be taken when experimenting and investigating before patent expiry.
Over the years, our firm has gained considerable experience in advising pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes worldwide.
Our team in Edinburgh advised clients in the extensive medical research sector in Scotland which, benefitting from investment from the Scottish Government, is now responsible for £2.4 billion gross revenue for the Scottish economy.
Our IP attorneys in Scotland have a particular focus on Life Sciences, MedTech and Medical devices. They advise clients of all sizes in preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications on an international scale, including in the USA and Europe. The team has experience advising start-up companies and entrepreneurs.
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