Thursday, August 30, 2012

Your patent office at work: exclusive Apple rights for rectangular, rounded-corner phones and a 20-year 2009 gout drug patent to URL Pharma for a pre-1938 drug

If you thought it was outrageous that Apple was given, and able to enforce against Samsung, a design patent for rectangular phones with rounded corners, there is more depressing news in today's Omaha World-Herald, as reported by Rick Ruggles.
     Gout, perhaps the most painful chronic disease, afflicts at least 3 million Americans, and is treated with colchicine, a drug so old it was grandfathered in under a 1938 law requiring new drugs to be evaluated by the FDA. In 2009 the FDA awarded URL Pharma three years of market exclusivity for Colcrys (colchicine). But in the same year the patent office gave URL a 20-year patent. The drug now costs fifty times more than it used to, going from ten cents to five dollars per pill.