On April 12, 2018, the state council of China announced that beginning May 1, 2018, a maximum of 5-year patent term extension will be available for innovative drugs (commonly referred to as branded drugs) seeking market approval within and outside China. This decision by the state council will help move the intellectual property protection system for pharmaceuticals in China closer to that of many countries such as, for example, the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea and Australia, which have well-established patent term extension systems. Although the details of the patent term extension system have yet to be specified, it is believed that it will be similar to the U.S. system with respect to the types of products and patents that for which the extension will be applicable as well as how the term for extension will be calculated.
This decision demonstrates that China is serious in implementing more stringent intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals. As such, this decision by China to permit for patent term extension is good news to foreign investors, especially foreign pharmaceutical companies.
Please continue to watch BRICS & Beyond for further details on patent term extension in China as it becomes available.
This post was written by Lisa Mueller and Xu Li of Chofn Intellectual Property.