Revisions to Patents Act as per 1 January 2019

A partial revision to the Patents Act and its implementing provisions will come into force together with an ordinary revision of the Therapeutic Products Act on 1 January 2019. This was decided by the Federal Council at its meeting on 21 September 2018 (Media release of 21 September 2018 in German/French/Italian).

The partial revision introduces the following improvements for medical personnel, pharmaceutical manufacturers and consumers:

Firstly, restrictions to the free choice of medical treatment will be removed, which is the result of a change in case law by the European Patent Office’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (see Question 11.1053 from former National Councillor Gysin). In addition, the prescription of medicines by medical personnel in individual cases and the individual preparation of medicines in pharmacies will be excluded from the effect of a patent.

Secondly, the revised Patents Act will encourage the development of safe medicinal products for paediatric use. As an incentive to remedy the lack of medicines specifically for children, the revised law will provide for a six-month extension to protection for pharmaceutical manufacturers as compensation for carrying out paediatric studies for medicinal products. This extended patent protection can be obtained with either a paediatric extension to a supplementary protection certificate or via the new paediatric protection certificate.