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6 August 2020Big PharmaMuireann Bolger

Webinar: antibody patents in Europe and beyond

Antibody patenting can be a minefield for IP practitioners if they lack the most up-to-date knowledge about the best way to approach a patent application. Antibody experts and European patent attorneys Tom Leonard, Alison Care and Dave Wortley from law firm  Kilburn & Strode joined WIPR group editor Tom Phillips for a  webinar on the latest developments in antibody patenting yesterday, August 5.

This in-depth webinar was aimed specifically at practitioners in the field, including private practice attorneys, in-house counsel and others involved in the development and marketing of antibodies.

Leonard explored the issues around drafting applications, including how to maximise potential claim scope where possible and what data to include to support claims. “There are two main ways to create value in an antibody patent filing. The first is filing a narrow yet robust claim that protects your antibody and protects it from attack from third parties,” he said.

“The second is seeking a broader protection that covers a class of antibodies that protects competitors from entering the same space, even if they develop their own antibody.” He added that it was important to include language for as many options as possible and to be creative in an antibody patent application.

Invention capture

A detailed invention capture could also play a pivotal role in the success of an antibody’s patent filing, explained Wortley. “It can add significant value to an application, and doesn’t always get the attention it deserves,” he said.

Wortley explained that to persuade an examiner or judge, the patent application needs to tell the story about what is new about the claimed antibody or antibodies, and what is surprising or advantageous about the distinguishing features. “The experimental examples are key in explaining the story of the journey of the invention,” he added.

The webinar also explored the common prosecution strategies used by the European Patent Office (EPO) including common objections and how to overcome them, and the prosecution of antibody cases in other jurisdictions. “Inventive steps are the most common and generally the most difficult objections to overcome at the EPO,” said Care.

She explained that the examiner will be looking for evidence in the application including that the claimed antibodies are not a mere alternative to existing antibodies; the unexpected properties of an antibody, and data showing whether the antibody can treat disease.

Leonard concluded the webinar by underlining how vital it is to secure robust patent protection for antibodies. “Of the top ten selling drugs of 2019, seven were antibodies. They are such an important part of medicine today, helping millions of people across the world suffering from a variety of diseases, so getting patent protection for those antibodies to enable continued research and development in this field is more important than ever,” he said. To find out more and to listen to the webinar, click  here.

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1 February 2018   When it comes to patenting antibodies, “written description seems to be the big issue these days”, according to Gerald Murphy, IP partner at law firm Birch Stewart Kolasch Birch.
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27 February 2020   Immunology-focused Vir Biotechnology and Hong Kong-based WuXi Biologics have become the latest companies to turn their focus to developing treatments for the novel coronavirus.

More on this story

Americas
1 February 2018   When it comes to patenting antibodies, “written description seems to be the big issue these days”, according to Gerald Murphy, IP partner at law firm Birch Stewart Kolasch Birch.
Americas
27 February 2020   Immunology-focused Vir Biotechnology and Hong Kong-based WuXi Biologics have become the latest companies to turn their focus to developing treatments for the novel coronavirus.