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What makes a quality patent?



At the Creating and Leveraging Intellectual Property in Developing Countries (CLIPDC) conference in Durban, a not too complex – with an extremely clear scope were two key factors named by industry player when asked what makes a good quality patent, writes SUE SEGAR.

‚”Not too complex and with an extremely clear scope.‚”

These were two of the key criteria named by industry players yesterday, when asked what makes for a good quality patent.

They were speaking during a panel discussion at the Creating and Leveraging Intellectual Property in Developing Countries (CLIPDC) conference currently underway in Durban. The industry leaders also cited the value of a patent, as well as its legal and protection value as key criteria which they apply in considering patents.

The three – Roy Waldron (Chief Patent Counsel, Pfizer Corporation), Maaike Van Velzen (IP & Standards General Manager, Phillips Group Innovation, Netherlands) and Morne Barradas (Lead IP Legal Advisor: Risk and Compliance, Sasol Group Services, Sasolburg, South Africa shared their insights with moderator McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub of Gauteng-Province and President of the International Association of Science Parks.

‚”There are many aspects to what makes a quality patent,‚” said Van Velzen.

‚”It is also about the portfolio that it is a part of. Generally you would have a portfolio of patents protecting your innovations, starting with the broad scope patents, going through to the more specific embodiments that you really need to make the invention work.

‚”The quality of the patent is, for example, in how the scope is in relation to the invention you have made. There must be clear and concise terminology used it must be very clear what the scope is and what you are trying to protect and that there is true enablement: that there is information in the patent on how you would work the invention and how it really could be embodied in the product in the end.

‚”Those are important aspects of quality of patents. Looking at portfolio, it is also important to look into the geographic spread. Usually we would look into portfolios that have a global spread as those are the ones that are most valuable in terms of IP protection.‚”

Barradas said that, from Sasol’s perspective, a key factor to consider would be the value connected to that patent. ‚”This includes the legal value – so it must be an enforceable patent. It must also meet the novelty and inventive steps as these are obviously major patentability criteria.

‚”It must also have protection value so that it actually protects your technology in relation to your business strategy.

‚”Where exactly they fit into your portfolio would determine which are your more valuable and less valuable patents.‚”

Another factor to consider in terms of patents, Barradas continued, was the commercial value of a patent. ‚”One must look at where the patent paves the way for joining efforts and joint research collaboration or partnering. It can also assist in licensing and cross-licensing when it is addressing a specific competitor problem.‚”

Waldron painted a picture of a complex set of patenting needs in the pharmaceutical arena,

‚”When we look at the particulars of the pharmaceutical sector, we start right at the beginning: we work with small molecules and biologics that have therapeutic effects. We don’t just develop these ‚Ķ we also devise mechanisms for introducing them into the body, formulations and new ways of using biologics, all aimed at having a therapeutic effect.‚”

A good patent in the pharmaceutical industry had to address the entire process of development, Waldron said.

‚”A patent is a right to exclude competitors from practicing your technological advance for a certain period of time. That right to exclude is only as good as the environment, particularly the legal environment, in which it finds itself‚Ķ

A quality patent is a patent that can stand up in court valid and enforceable and results in measures that actually compel a competitor to not reproduce your invention at the same time as you are producing it.‚”

* Patent image compliments of