Protecting intellectual property (IP) is an essential activity for bioscience companies. The BIA supports members to do this by providing guidance on IP practice and policy, and advocates on behalf of the sector to the government, European Commission and the UK and EU courts.

The Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) leads the BIA’s policy development, drawing on the expertise and experience of the membership. Our strong relationship with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and international connections ensure the UK biocience sector’s interests are                                                                                                 supported in both UK and international jurisdictions. The UK has one of the                                                                                           most innovation-friendly patent protection regimes in the world.

Representing the sector in the courts

In early 2018, the BIA was granted permission to intervene in the UK Surpeme Court hearing of Warner-Lambert vs Generics (UK) Ltd and Actavis. The case concerns the plausiblity of inventions disclosed in patents, which is of particular interest to the bioscience sector as companies must choose carefully when to patent an invention that is still undergoing R&D. The BIA's Statement of Grounds, led by IPAC, called on the Supreme Court to strike a balance that neither unfairly penalises biotechnology companies in requiring an unwarranted level of information (e.g. data from clinical studies) nor permits applicants to unfairly file patents with vague indications of research objectives. The case was heard on 12 February and the result will be released in due course. 

Improving technology transfer

The UK’s world-leading academic research community produces high-quality early-stage IP that can be developed and commercialised by the bioscience industry. The BIA works with our partners in the public sector, government and across industry to improve technology transfer. This work is led by our Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC). 

SIAC brought together representatives from across the biotech/healthcare community to discuss technology transfer.  This followed the recent Dowling Report, and also the evidence given and the subsequent report by the House of Commons Science and Select Committee on managing academic intellectual property.  The BIA’s intention is to address some of the issues highlighted, such as friction around IP licencing, by bringing together all the relevant parties, and encouraging open dialogue.