HC Deb 10 December 1985 vol 88 cc557-8W
Mr. Hayes

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations he has had advocating measures to protect patents for new medicines; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what plans he has to introduce measures to protect patents for new medicines.

Mr. Pattie

I have received representations from individual pharmaceutical companies and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry for repeal of the licences of right provisions contained in the 1977 Patents Act affecting patents granted under the previous 1949 Act and for extension of the present 20-year patent term. On the licences of right issue, I am awaiting further data relevant to the pharmaceutical industry's case from the ABPI and the Department of Health and Social Security. With regard to extension of patent term, Community members resolved in 1975 to bring their national patent laws into conformity, as far as practicable, with provisions of the European patent convention. This was done in the United Kingdom by the Patents Act 1977, which provided inter alia for the extension of patent terms from 16 to 20 years in line with the European patent convention. There are no immediate plans for common action with other Community states to extend the term further. However, I am considering whether a United Kingdom initiative might be appropriate.

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