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Global businesses facing potential threat to patent rights

Massachusetts businesses may be interested in an article that looks at potential issues with worldwide intellectual property protection for the pharmaceutical industry. A new trade agreement could have implications not just for drug companies, but for many businesses that interact with the global economy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is currently in talks between the U.S. and 11 other nations and has been undergoing negotiations since 2008. This trade agreement would affect countries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. One commentator argues that respect for worldwide intellectual property rights must be part of these negotiations. Using the pharmaceutical industry as an example of a global business affected by the dismissal of patent rights, he shows the precarious financial position that these intellectual property disputes with foreign companies can put the industry in.

A typical new drug requires anywhere from 10 to 15 years of development, costing $1.2 billion on average. According to studies, only one out of thousands of drugs is approved for use by the FDA. Because of this, the successful pharmaceuticals must make enough revenue to cover all of the unsuccessful drug development. When patent protection is not guaranteed on a worldwide scale, the risk of such a business model is greatly increased. For an industry that both directly and indirectly employs 30 percent of America's workforce, fostering this innovation through strong intellectual property protection on a global scale is vital.

International business disputes can involve navigating many difficult and complex issues. An attorney who is experienced in business litigation may be able to help sort out these issues, whether in an intellectual property dispute, a breach of contract, or any other corporate dispute with a foreign company.

Source: Forbes, "Intellectual Property Rights Matter", Doug Schoen, September 24, 2013

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