The Venezuelan Patent and Trademark Office (VPTO) has issued the first notice of allowances (NOA) in pending patent applications directed to pharmaceutical inventions since 2004. At least two patent applications have received NOAs pursuant to Article 27.1 of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Specifically, Article 27.1 of TRIPS recites:
- Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3, patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. Subject to paragraph 4 of Article 65, paragraph 8 of Article 70 and paragraph 3 of this Article, patents shall be available and patent rights enjoyable without discrimination as to the place of invention, the field of technology and whether products are imported or locally produced.
In November 2020, the VPTO announced that they would immediately begin to recognize the direct and preferred applicability of the TRIPS agreement and Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property over Venezuelan national legislation.
The two patent applications for which NOAs have issued are owned by Sanofi Aventis (Sanofi). Both applications claim the use of a certain compound to produce a medicament for the treatment of a certain disease and claim priority to French patent applications filed in 2007. Assuming Sanofi pays the final registration fees before August 18, 2021, the patents will have a term of 10 years from the grant date of May 24, 2021. It is important to emphasize that neither of the allowed applications contain product claims but only medical use claims.
Invalidation actions can be initiated during the two years following the issue date of the NOAs. Patent owners are required to provide evidence of practicing their patent (e.g., working) within two years following the date of grant, otherwise the patent can be declared to have lapsed.
Currently, Venezuela’s patent law does not contain mechanisms such as patent term extension or Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs).
This post was written by Lisa Mueller and Sebastian Gonzalez Yanes of Pi360 Legal