Patents - Interpharma

Leader in research and development


The legal framework must be developed further to ensure that innovations are adequately protected.

Overview Exhaustion regimes Patents

Comprehensive patent protection is of fundamental importance for Switzerland as a research and pharma hub. The research and development process for a new medicinal product is long, complex and expensive – this is why so few sectors are so heavily dependent on strong patent protection.

Patent protection allows the pharmaceutical industry to finance the high investment expenditures that are necessary for research and development, since the patent protects the inventor against unauthorised commercial use of the patented invention by a third party. In this way, patent protection creates a balance between the interests of the inventor and the public good. By disclosing their invention, the researcher provides the public with access to technical progress and generates knowledge. In return, the researcher is granted a period of patent protection limited to a maximum of 20 years. In the medicines sector, practical considerations mean that this protection lasts between 10 and 15 years from the date on which the product is granted marketing authorisation.

Incentive for medical innovations

The innovations produced by the research-based pharmaceutical industry contribute to the high quality of our healthcare system. Patent protection, and the associated incentive to innovate, is a very important factor in creating a regulatory environment that is conducive to research and innovation. Digitalisation is an aspect on which great attention is focused; it is already bringing about a fundamental change in the way medicinal products are developed and used.

There is still no adequate form of protection for data, algorithms and the results of the data analyses that lead to innovative therapies. There is therefore a need to develop the legal framework for intellectual property (IP) in a direction that ensures adequate protection for innovations. Close cooperation between the sector and the Swiss authorities and other partners will therefore play a central role in establishing a world-leading data-protection and IP landscape for the future.

The generation of clinical data as a precondition for the authorisation of new medicinal products is a time-consuming and cost-intensive endeavour. The creator of these data is entitled to relevant compensation that must continue to be ensured in the future through modern document protection. Document protection is of elementary importance in situations in which a therapy cannot be patented.

Further information

About us

Interpharma, the association of Switzerland’s research-based pharmaceutical industry, was founded in Basel in 1933.

Interpharma informs the public about issues that are important to the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland, including the pharma market in Switzerland, healthcare and biomedical research.

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