GC Pharma had the largest number of patents among top-ranking local drugmakers last year, industry data showed Thursday.
GC Pharma, formerly called Green Cross, had 115 patents and utility models among the 10 domestic pharmaceutical firms with the most significant sales in 2017. The patent comparison excluded design and trademark.
Daewoong ranked second with 95 (89 patents, six utility models), followed by Dong-A ST with 88 (88 patents, zero utility model), and Chong Kun Dang with 87 (85 patents, two utility models).
Following them was Hanmi Pharmaceutical with 75, Yuhan Corp., 73, Celltrion, 60, Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical, 58, Ildong Pharmaceutical, 54, and JW Pharmaceutical, 29.
Local firms had a relatively small number of patents, compared to multinational pharmaceutical companies. Novartis had 410 patents in Korea, registered by Novartis Ag. Pfizer had 212 local patents, registered by Pfizer Incorporated.
“It is hard to know if there are many key patents just by looking at the numbers only. Many patents are also associated with beverages and cosmetics,” said a pharmaceutical source. “Some companies apply for essential patents only, but others apply patents that are not strategically meaningful. The quality of the patent is more important than the number.”
A patent expert said domestic companies should enhance business strategies to consider patent development.
“Local drugmakers put less priority on patents in their business strategies, but multinationals put more emphasis on patents. Considering the size of pipelines, we could say that there is not much gap between local firms and multinationals in the number of patents, the expert said. “If we consider PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), however, the gap will be widened,”
"Patent" is an advanced technique for an invention of technical ideas using natural laws. A patent protects an "invention." “Utility model” is a design of technical ideas using natural laws, which is limited to the design of shape, structure, or combination of goods. A utility model protects a “design.”
Patent rights last for 20 years, and utility model, 10 years, in Korea.
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