IPR Story 6- Product patent vs Process Patent
Intelectual Property Rights : Product patents vs process patents
Rahul had just started his M.Pharm Program. He had done a course on IPRs and had some working knowledge of IPRS. He started working on a new molecule on diabetes and worked on its synthesis for nearly six months. One day while searching the patent databases, he got a shock! The molecule he had so diligently worked on had already been synthesized and duly patented. It was not a new molecule at all. He was very disappointed and disillusioned. Anyway, he downloaded the full patent and started reading it. Soon he was smiling again. He went to his guide, they discussed and soon Rahul and his guide had filed a process patent.
What had happened?
Rahul had lost the race for patenting the new molecule, since someone else had filed a patent application earlier. However, in the same application, the process had also been disclosed and duly patented (you can patent a process and product in the same patent, provided both are related). When Rahul read the patent, he found that the synthesis process proposed in the patent was too long and cumbersome- his process in contrast was simple, efficient and much cheaper. Naturally, he smiled. Somebody else had come up with a good molecule, but he had worked out an innovative process, which could make the manufacture of that molecule, much cheaper and faster. Now the question will naturally come to your minds, that since Rahul cannot make the molecule, since patent for the molecule is held by someone else, what use is Rahul's patent? Rahul's patent is very, very important. The company will never want to use an inefficient and cumbersome process, provided that they have access to a better process. Rahul's process was better- chances are that the company which had rights over the molecule, would in-license it from Rahul.
Moral of the story:
Don't be blinded by product, product and only product patents. Process patents too have lot of value!