Special report: patents and SPCs post-Brexit – pharma’s big opportunity?

The United Kingdom has left the European Union and following lengthy negotiations, a UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement was eventually signed on Christmas Eve 2020. As with all Christmas gifts there is a lot to be thankful for, but there are also some clear omissions.

It is undoubtedly positive that the UK has managed to agree a quota and tariff-free trade agreement with the EU. The alternative, a no-deal Brexit, would have required the UK to go back to the negotiation table with each EU member state independently. This would almost certainly have led to some tariffs being imposed as well as increased complexity for anyone looking to trade with multiple EU member states, and significant uncertainty as individual deals were agreed. The presence of a Medicines Annex to the trade agreement is also a positive, primarily because it recognises the importance of the industry to the ongoing success of both the UK and EU. As a sector which requires a high level of regulation and consistency, a no-deal Brexit would have placed particular challenges upon the pharmaceutical industry. Thankfully these are not challenges we now need to consider.

However, implementing the trade agreement the UK has made with the EU, and working through the inevitable snags, is the next challenge facing the pharmaceutical industry. Coupled with the additional pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, this represents a significant challenge, but one to which, we believe, the UK’s pharmaceutical industry will rise.

Strategies for IP and pharmaceuticals in a post-Brexit landscape

Intellectual property and the pharmaceutical sector are significant considerations for both the UK and the EU following Brexit. This is apparent from the publication of the EU’s Intellectual Property Action Plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience, as well as its Pharmaceutical Strategy policy document, shortly before the trade agreement was signed.

Patent specialists Garreth Duncan and Jennifer O’Farrell of D Young & Co LLP have prepared a special report in which we shine a spotlight on the impact of Brexit on the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the challenges ahead as well as areas of opportunity for the UK. This 32-page report considers how the pharma industry should adapt its IP strategy. We examine the following key topics:

→ Brexit’s impact on the supplementary protection certificate (SPC), unitary patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court systems.
→ What’s in and out of the EU Pharmaceutical Strategy – and will the UK follow?
→ What can the UK gain from the EU’s IP action plan?
→ Regulatory independence for the UK – what’s the role for the MHRA post-Brexit?
→ Implications of the rules of origin on the pharma industry.

To access the full report please visit www.dyoung.com/brexit-pharma.

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