Medical Patents

medical patentsA medical patent is a legal safeguard that provides security for an inventor’s medical idea or product against a subsequent similar idea or product. When the government provides you with a patent — also known as an “intellectual property right” and a key driver for innovation — competitors are prohibited from making, using or selling the patented-protected product for a specific period of time. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is the agency that has jurisdiction over patent approvals, and generally these patents last for twenty years.

In the medical field, pharmaceutical patents can be filed for certain drugs developed by biotech pharmaceutical companies who wish to shield it from competition for a certain number of years. This lets the company earn profits on their drug before a competitor can develop a similar or generic version, which allows that company to be compensated for the research and development that went into that product.

Patent Licensing

If a drug is protected by a patent, there are some instances where a different company can use the protected product. For example, the owner company can license its product out to a second company, making it possible for both companies to use the product while still providing the owner company with an overall benefit of having that patent.

Medical Patents

To obtain a medical patent, the owner company has to provide the government with enough research and data to get the drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). This process can take eight years or longer. Once that patent expires, most of the brand name products vanish as competitors are able to sell generic versions at a much more affordable cost.

In order to avoid this, the owner company will typically file continuous patents in order to prolong the shelf life of the drug and prevent other competitors from doing this. This often leads to constant litigation by both the owner company and the competitor companies. For instance, the owner company can sue in court over the generic version of their patented drug, and the FDA is then forced to freeze the approval of the generic version for 30 months unless the case is settled within that time frame. Because this could be very detrimental to the competitor companies, they try and sue the owner company to invalidate those continuous patents.

Hiring a Biochemistry Patent Attorney

Patent lawyers are required to be experts in intellectual property law as it pertains to securing and protecting an inventor’s property rights to a unique, useful and non-obvious invention. In addition to passing the bar exam in the state where they practice, which all attorneys must do, patent attorneys must have passed a second exam referred to as the “patent bar exam” that grants them a license to represent clients before the USPTO.  Patent attorneys are also required to be experts in one or more technical areas important to understanding clients’ inventions. This usually means they’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in a technical field of engineering or science, such as mechanical engineering, physics or biology. 

When selecting a biochemistry patent attorney, verify that he or she has passed the state bar exam and is in good standing with the state bar association – meaning not having been disbarred or formally disciplined. An attorney you are considering should have at least a few years of patent law experience and be knowledgeable in the subject area related to the invention you are patenting. For example, if you’re filing a biotech patent application, you’ll want an attorney with a biochemistry patent background, not one whose area of expertise is computer engineering.

A good biochemistry patent attorney will first advise you on whether your invention is patentable. A patent attorney can also advise you on whether it makes more sense to start by filing a provisional patent application or nonprovisional patent application and whether you should also file for international protection. The attorney’s work on the patent application will help you explain and claim your invention in a way that maximizes your patent rights. He or she will know how to conduct a thorough search for prior art so that you don’t waste your time and money filing a patent application that will be rejected because your invention doesn’t meet the novelty requirement. 

A biochemistry patent attorney will prepare your patent application to meet the USPTO’s exacting requirements to minimize delays in the patent application review process. This will free up your time to focus on your own business. If the USPTO grants your patent, a patent attorney can help you enforce your patent rights, which is essential to maximizing the economic value of your invention. And if the USPTO’s patent examiner rejects your initial application, an attorney can help you appeal the decision.

Patent Attorney Biology

A biological patent is a patent on an invention in the field of biology that by law allows the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the protected invention for a limited period of time. The scope and reach of biological patents vary among jurisdictions, and may include biological technology and products, genetically modified organisms and genetic material. The applicability of patents to substances and processes wholly or partially natural in origin is a subject of debate.

  • Aesthetic & Cosmetic Biotechnology
  • Antibodies & Immunology
  • Biofuels
  • Biological Manufacturing Of Chemicals
  • Biologics
  • Diagnostic Tools
  • Genomics
  • Industrial Enzymes
  • Peptides
  • Personalized Medicine
  • Research Tools & Reagents
  • Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Synthetic Biology & Nanotechnology
  • Therapeutics
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Transgenic Animals
  • Vaccines


Chiacchio IP is an active contributor to industry literature. We also give frequent presentations on topics relating to business patents and other intellectual property.