China ousts USA as top patent filer, WHO supports COVID-19 patent pool

In this week’s Patent News – China emerges as top patent filer in the world; Enhanced damages of $389 million awarded to Bristol-Myers Squibb; British American Tobacco files patent infringement lawsuit against Philip Morris; WHO Director General supports Costa Rican governments proposal to create an exclusive voluntary IP pool for COVID-19 products and other news updates.


British American Tobacco files patent infringement suit against Philip Morris

British American Tobacco (BAT), the second-largest cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company in the world, has filed a lawsuit against Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) for patent infringement in U.S.A and Germany. BAT has filed two patent infringement claims against the company in United States alone. While BAT has filed a suit against the latter in the Federal Court of Virginia U.S.A, a complaint has also been filed with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC). The lawsuits filed in both the countries are specifically related to a heating blade technology used in by Philip in its IQOS product. According to Reuters, Philip started to sell the IQOS product in the U.S.A last year. Further, according to reports, BAT has not disclosed the amount that the company is seeking by way of damages.


China outperforms USA in number of PCT filings, emerges as top patent filer

A recent report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) identified  China as the number 1 user of the PCT System by having filed over 58,990 PCT applications in 2019. According to the report, since the advent of the PCT, USA has always been the top PCT filer only to be replaced by China in 2019. In 2019 alone, a total of 57,840 applications were filed by the U.S.A through the PCT System. Japan, Germany and the Republic of Korea have occupied the 3rd, 4th and 5th position respectively. India features among the top 15 countries by having filed over 2053 PCT applications.

With regard to the number of Design applications filed under The Hague System, a total of 21,807 designs were filed in 2019 of which Germany topped the list by filing 4,487 designs, followed by Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Japan and Italy.

You may click here to access the official WIPO website for more information.

U.S Federal Judge awards enhanced damages of $389 million to Bristol-Myers Squibb

A U.S Federal Judge has directed Gilead Sciences to pay a sum total of $1.2 billion as damages to Bristol-Myers Squibb in connection with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by the pharma giant. The Federal Judge passed the judgement against Gilead Sciences after Bristol-Myers instituted a counterclaim for “non-infringement and invalidity.” In view of the new ruling, Gilead is liable to $778 million that was previously awarded by a Federal Jury last year; a sum of $32.8 million by way of a pre-judgement interest on the jury’s verdict as well as an additional sum of $389 million which has been awarded by the Federal Judge as enhanced damages. According to a statement by Gilead, the company believes that “the judgment is legally unsupportable and will be reversed.” Gilead has also said that it plans to file an appeal against the decision. 

WHO Director General supports Costa Rican governments proposal to create an exclusive voluntary IP pool for COVID-19 products

In an effort to provide access to medical products and other essentials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Costa Rican government had previously asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to create a voluntary pool in order to collect patent rights and other relevant information. The objective of the Costa Rican government was to establish a pool that allows free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable conditions to its members. In reference to this request by the Costa Rican government, WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a statement expressing his support to the proposal. In the Director Generals words – “I call on all countries, companies and research institutions to support open data, open science, and open collaboration so that all people can enjoy the benefits of science and research.”            

Authored and compiled by Vibha Amarnath

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