Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Patents vs copyright

When a drug is patented, the patent last 20 years. It often takes 8-10 years of testing before a drug can be sold to the public. That means the drug company has only 10-12 years to recoup the costs. After which, anyone can make the drug and sell it.

Try that in any other creative endeavor and it gets labeled "outright theft of intellectual property."

Recently some Thai animators, created a nearly identical replica of Beauty and the Beast. Oh the horrors!!! Disney's patent on Beauty and the Beast would have run out long ago.[1] This knockoff would be totally legal if it were a drug. If so, you could buy it at Walmart for $4.


[1] yes, it was released in 1991, but I'm sure the testing and development started years before.

7 comments:

MJenks said...

It's okay. Disney stole the storyline nearly word-for-word from Robin McKinley's retelling of the Beauty and Beast story.

You can thin of that as like going through a patent, picking out the pieces where they haven't expressly covered it, and making your drug.

Ha ha! You didn't cover trifluoromethyl in this position. Oh, look, it's somewhat active AND metabolically stable? Win win! And by "win win" I mean me, winning twice, on the back of your idea that I made slightly better! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I've been in the industry a tad too long, methinks.

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Jim said...

I have long been bothered by the 10-12 year expiration on drug patents, for the exact reasons raised here: This would never fly elsewhere. Unfortunately, this may point to the corrupt nature of the drug industry.

Anonymous said...

One reason for the patent expiration is to spur innovation. If a company had a lifetime patent, then why make anything else?

Jim...how does this point to the "corrupt nature of the pharma industry"?

Mr acetate said...

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