Patents and Glaxo

GlaxoSmithKline the huge British drug corporation has dropped its controversial application to patent a key AIDS drug in Thailand and India.

A company spokesman said ‘We already informed Thai officials of our decision to withdraw the application.’

Campaigners have argued that the Patent was not valid as the Patent combined existing drugs therefore how could it be a new invention?

To be patentable your invention must:

* Be new

The invention must never have been made public in any way, anywhere in the world, before the date on which an application for a patent is filed.

* Involve an inventive step

An invention involves an inventive step if, when compared with what is already known, it would not be obvious to someone with a good knowledge and experience of the subject.

* Be capable of industrial application

An invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry. This means that the invention must take the practical form of an apparatus or device, a product such as some new material or substance or an industrial process or method of operation.

“Industry” is meant in its broadest sense as anything distinct from purely intellectual or aesthetic activity. It does not necessarily imply the use of a machine or the manufacture of an article. Agriculture is included.

Articles or processes alleged to operate in a manner clearly contrary to well-established physical laws, such as perpetual motion machines, are regarded as not having industrial application.

* Not be “excluded”

An invention is not patentable if it is:

* a discovery

* a scientific theory or mathematical method
* an aesthetic creation such as a literary, dramatic or artistic work
* a scheme or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business
* the presentation of information, or a computer program.

If the invention involves more than these abstract aspects so that it has physical features (such as a special apparatus to play a new game) then it may be patentable.

In addition, it is not possible to get a patent for an invention if it is a new animal or plant variety a method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or a method of diagnosis.

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