The U.K. Intellectual Property Office (IPO) took proactive steps toward preserving Britain's reputation as a life sciences innovator this week by employing a series of changes to the nation's Patents Act. By reducing administrative burdens, officials hope to foster a safer space for pharmaceutical companies to conduct research and development tasks with minimal fear of being sued for patent infringement.
Under the existing patent management system, drug makers could have been sued for involving established, market-leading pharmaceuticals in their own clinical trials as a means of making comparisons that could later be used for marketing purposes. Moving forward, clinical development procedures will be exempt from such restrictions.
"Today marks an important step forward by removing the risks of patent infringement when testing new drugs and treatments," said David Willetts, U.K. Minister for Universities and Science. "This will make the U.K. a more attractive location for research and development, supporting growth and innovation."
According to Vaccine News Daily, this move brings the U.K. into closer alignment with the majority of European Union member states. Conversely, the U.S. continues to practice a more proactive brand of clinical trials regulation similar to the framework Britain is leaving behind.