The concept

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), together with 20 participating global pharmaceutical companies, have joined forces to globalise the concept of the US’s ‘Orange Book’.

Most drugs have one or more brand names (trade marks, often called the ‘invented name’); and an INN (or international non-proprietary or ‘generic’ name), which identifies the active pharmaceutical ingredient(s). INNs are registered with the World Health Organization (WHO). For example, the non-prescription pain reliever known widely by its INN, ibuprofen, also goes by multiple trade marks such as Advil, Motrin, Brufen, Nurofen, and others. A patent application to protect the innovator from ‘copying’ of the drug by others is usually drafted many years before the INN is agreed, so the patent specification usually does not refer to the INN (or the trade mark, for similar reasons), resulting in a lack of linkage between patent language and regulatory or marketing language used for the drug concerned.

The database 

Pat-INFORMED aims to solve this problem by linking patent information worldwide with the INN for important medicines. However, trade marks are not included.

Presently, the database is searchable by INN and country. Results appear in a simple table having three columns: INN, Participant (company), and Patents, which provides the title of the patent.

Clicking on a patent title opens a ‘card’, which provides an informal summary of the patent plus basic information on the patent in each territory. This information includes the patent’s

publication number and date, plus filing date. Where the patent specification is available in WIPO’s Patentscope database of international and patent collections, a link to that is provided. The ‘health warning’ on the card should be carefully noted: Pat-INFORMED is not intended to be a short-cut to a comprehensive patent status report and should not solely be relied upon for legal purposes. A Patent Attorney can advise further and comprehensively on such matters.

Companies and drugs involved

Participation in Pat-INFORMED is voluntary and not all drugs are covered.

So far, 20 pharmaceutical companies have committed to contributing to the database:

AbbVie (USA) Leo Pharma (Denmark)
Astellas Pharma Inc. (Japan) Lilly (USA)
Bristol-Myers Squibb (USA) Merck KGaA (Germany)
Daiichi-Sankyo (Japan) MSD / Merck & Co., Inc. (USA)
Eisai (Japan) Novartis (Switzerland)
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (USA) Novo Nordisk (Denmark)
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) (United Kingdom) Pfizer (USA)
IPSEN (France) Roche (Switzerland)
Johnson & Johnson (USA) Shionogi Inc. (Japan)
Takeda (Japan) UCB (Belgium)

Participants are committed to disclosing their main patents in every country in which they are granted and details of all therapies presently covered by the database.

Pat-INFORMED contains patent information from these companies on drugs which are on the WHO Essential Medicines List; this information will be updated every six months.

Other important drugs are included from the oncologic, hepatitis C, cardiovascular, HIV, diabetes and respiratory therapy areas. Eventually, all therapy areas will be covered. Information on these drugs will be updated annually.

The possibility of including other treatments, complex therapies and vaccines will be explored in due course.