Biotech Startups Can Benefit from Cost-Effective IP Strategies

Biotech Startups Can Benefit from Cost-Effective IP Strategies

Jul 14, 2021 Service by

A well-designed intellectual property portfolio (IP) can be a great asset to a startup biotech business’s success in market. Patents enable a patent holder (35 U.S.C.) to block others from creating, using, offering, selling, importing or selling a similar product based upon what is claimed in the invention. 154 Biotech startups invest in utility Patents to protect core inventions, and prevent competition. Biotech startups are able to tap into cheaper IP protection options when they have limited funds. These include cross-licensing and/or settlement arrangements.
Design patents
Design patents are an invaluable and overlooked IP protection option. A design patent, unlike a utility license, protects the use or operation of a product (35 U.S.C. 101), while a design license protects the product’s appearance (35 U.S.C. 171. A design patent covers the appearance of ornamental or visual characteristics, beyond the product’s structural and functional functions. Biotech startups use design patents to protect their catchphrases, logos, shapes, and surfaces of products. It is also useful for protecting packaging, labelling, and color schemes. Design patents protect unique biotech startup processes, such as automated nucleic acid sequences, platform antibodies, new biologically-produced fuels and chemicals, noninvasive detect method schemes, genetically modified crop graphics and electronic or robotic medical devices designs. They also cover novel diagnostics and therapies and the associated graphic user interface.
A design patent typically covers only one claim. Therefore, it comes with lower legal fees. A design patent can be cheaper than a utility patent and produce more than three-times the allowance rate in the same amount of time. Design patents do not require maintenance fees. The design patent has a life expectancy of 14 years once it is granted. A design patent does not have to be published. A company can thus “fly below the radar” while working on its product development, until the grant of the design trademark. A design patent allows protection of the design of a product from its infancy until it goes on the market. The secondary meaning will also develop over the lifetime of the design license. This secondary meaning could help to secure trade dress protection in the future, which could potentially extend the product’s IP security.
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Unique to design patents is the requirement for the filing or photograph of drawings or photographs. This defines scope of design patent coverage. The drawings and photographs must show what is “new” about the invention in relation to the prior art. Design patents should be granted broad protection so that not only a specific design is protected, but the entire design concept. Design patents can be used strategically to help align with the business goals for biotech startups.
Trademarks
A trademark protects a name, symbol, word or logo (15 U.S.C. SS 1127. A registered trademark allows a startup to be legally protected by a mark that is distinctive from its competitors.
Trademarks are valuable for branding and can help differentiate one’s product or company from the rest. While multiple companies can legally sell the same product under registered trademark protection, only one company is allowed to legally market it. HUMIRA is the most popular biologic drug today. This monoclonal antibodies was first developed by BASF Pharma in late ’90s. It was also created by Cambridge Antibody Technology. Abbott later acquired the drug and called it Humira. Humira stands for human monoclonal antibody, which is a term that refers to rheumatoid-associated rheumatoid disease. Humira has been approved in more than 100 countries for the treatment of multiple autoimmune diseases. It generates billions annually. Despite Humira’s U.S. patents having expired in 2016, and its EU rights following the Abbott split, AbbVie has been able to earn branding revenues and market the drug as Humira despite it’s imminent expiration.
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A trademark is more powerful than utility and design Patents. They offer unlimited protection. The term for a trademark is 10 year and can be renewed in 10-year increments if it is continued to be used. A design can be protected simultaneously by both trademarks or design patents. Biotech startups can protect their designs with design patent protection. They are able to trademark a product without fear of interference by competitors for the 14 years that the design patent is valid. The trademarks provide additional protection. Also, trademarks can play a significant role in infringement lawsuits later. The trademark standard is a “likelihood for confusion”, which is lower that the design patent standard. It requires that there be a showing that an average observer would find that they are substantially the same.
In many cases, trademarks are industry specific. One example of this is the logo for an automotive manufacturing company. While it would be able to protect another company from trademark infringement, the same or similar phrase may not stop another company from infringing.
Even though there is no specific deadline to file a trademark application, it is essential to do so as soon as you can. The filing date helps U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determine the first person to file when an entity attempts trademark something similar or identical. You may lose the ability to use your mark if you take too long to file. If this happens, customers might become confused about which products your company manufactures, leading to loss of loyalty as well as financial loss.
The average filing fee to register a trademark is between $250 and $600. The processing of the application usually takes between 6-16 months. During this time, your trademark can be used to identify products. If your mark does not have enough uniqueness to be eligible for trademark protection, you may have to take it off of your products. During the pending trademark registration, you can legally use TM symbols with your mark. You can use the registered symbol once your trademark application is approved.
Click here Trademark renewal to get more information about Trademark.

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