The Supreme Court makes another ruling for the public and against big business. Now understand I have nothing against business because commerce makes the world go round as they say. What I am very much against are laws that allow some businesses to take unfair advantage of the patent laws and excessive unfair profit.
A company can have a patent on a product and just by making an insignificant change either to the product or even the packaging of that product apply for and get another patent on the product. This would allow them to keep their monopoly on the product for another period of time, thereby controlling the price and supply and stifling competition. The companies owning the patent can also sell licenses to other companies to produce the product and pay royalties to the owning company. This is especially the case with the drug companies. I have made this explanation very brief and rather simplistic since most of us are not lawyers and can only understand the gist of the rulings and not the legal ins and outs.
This is the case with MedImmune vs Genetech. "The Court, by an 8-1 vote, reinstated a lawsuit by MedImmune challenging a Genentech patent related to Synagis, a popular drug for treatment of respiratory disease in children.
The opinion in MedImmune v. Genentech, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, says patent licensees no longer have to breach the license in order to have standing to challenge the patent that they dispute. Patent lawyers say the ruling could lead to a flurry of challenges to existing patents." ***
This ruling does not entirely change this law that allows a company to monopolize a product, but it puts a hefty dent in it. This can do nothing but benefit the consumer. Of course the lawyers will argue that it will stifle companies from doing the expensive research to come up with new products if they are forced to realize any profit within a limited amount of time before the product can be produced by other companies. Companies generally recouped their costs within a couple years on a new product and after that it is pure profit so this argument just doesn’t hold up. New products will continue to be produced because the profits are just too great to forego, and older products will come down in price as more companies are able to make the product. This is also where improvements are made on older products then allowing the new company to take out a patent of their own.
***All you need to do to get more information on any court ruling is to Google: Supreme Court Watch and name of case which in this case is MedImmune,
Supreme Court Watch MedImmune