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Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Faculty of Law

Nature Biotechnology has accepted a seventh article from LML’s empirical-based IP research group.

Most countries active in pharmaceutical innovation offer patent protection and market exclusivity for new medical uses of known products. However, the question of whether such policies offer sustainable business models is an active debate within the field of pharmaceutical research known as ‘repurposing’. Commentators argue that the patent system offers insufficient incentives for repurposing, but these claims remain empirically untested.

‘Mapping the European Patent Landscape for Medical Uses of Known Products’, co-authored by Prof. Mateo Aboy, Dr Kathy Liddell, Dr John Liddicoat, Dr Cristina Crespo, and Matt Jordan, addresses this empirical gap by using EPO data to examine the European patent landscape of first and further medical uses of known products. Specifically, the paper addresses three research questions:

  1. What activity has there been in the EPO for medical uses of known products over the last 30 years? How many patents are granted per year? What is their allowance rate?

  2. Which organisations are leading the patent activity for medical uses of known products?

  3. What types of claim formulations are being used to protect these inventions and what is their relative prevalence?

The article is scheduled for publication in the journal’s November 2021 issue. Previous papers from this group published in Nature Biotechnology include:

Empirical studies continue to be a core focus of LML research, and feature significantly in LML's contribution to the CeBIL research programme.