October 18, 2007

While searching the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website for a particular form reference, I noticed a hyperlinked entry for “Life Sciences” under the “PATENTSCOPE” menu. As previously reported by the DDIP blog (link below), PatentScope is the PCT search engine provided by WIPO to allow its users to search a database of over one million PCT applications by keyword, inventor name, filing date, and various other criteria.

The Intellectual Property and Life Sciences webpage (link below) provides a general overview of the field as it pertains to intellectual property (IP), a list of activities by WIPO in the field of life sciences intellectual property, and links to additional reference material. In the overview, WIPO notes that advances in life sciences, using biotechnology as an example, has “resulted in new disciplines such as genetic engineering, and promise[s] innovative solutions to fundamental challenges related to medicine, food, agriculture and environment.” In addition, WIPO views the “role of intellectual property” from several perspectives, including legal and ethical standards, administrative and procedural issues, life sciences IP management, the need for analytical tools, and others. Furthermore, WIPO’s Intellectual Property and Life Sciences webpage notes several activities it is engaged in, including the development of public information materials (including surveys, background studies, patent landscapes, and the like), providing technical advice and training on a broad range of IP issues, and its cooperation and collaboration with other international organizations (including the World Health Organization and several others).

There are also several links to additional information regarding Life Sciences IP. For example, WIPO has developed an “Advanced Course on Biotechnology and Intellectual Property” (DL-204, link below) aiming to “illustrate how you can use the current IP system to protect and commercialize your biotechnological invention.” This course covers several topics, including but not limited to the range of different types of IP, specifically “how patent law protects biotechnological inventions”, and how to obtain technical and patent information from database searches. In addition, WIPO hosts a series of “Symposia on Life Sciences and IP Policy” (link below), and on November 16, 2007, one particular symposium (the “Symposium on Intellectual Property and Life Sciences Regulation”) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland. This particular symposium will include discussions regarding policy and legal choices, a WHO perspective, linkages between generic approval and the patent system, and others. Previous symposia have included “IP and Bioethics” (held on September 4, 2007), and “Current Issues in Intellectual Property and Public Health” (held on September 19, 2007).

The descriptions above are by no means exhaustive of the Life Sciences information available on the WIPO website. I encourage you to browse the WIPO website (and the Life Sciences information in particular) if you are interested in this area of intellectual property law.

WIPO Intellectual Property and Life Sciences Webpage: LINK
WIPO Advanced Course (DL-204) Webpage: LINK
Symposia on Life Sciences and IP Policy Webpage: LINK
“Symposium on Intellectual Property and Life Sciences Regulation” Webpage: LINK
DDIP PatentScope Article: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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