But Congress is also looking at ways to curb longer patent protection time periods. Right now, biopharmaceutical firms enjoy
roughly 20 years of drug patent protection for their brand-name drugs. The Hatch-Waxman Act would limit the automatic extensions
filed by drug makers.
So is it too soon to call 2006 the Year of the Patent? Maybe, or maybe not.
But one thing is for sure. For a heads-up on long-term profit margins for big biopharmaceutical companies and the generic
drug companies chasing them, patent reform is well worth watching closely.
Celebrity author and business/finance commentator for CNN and Fox News, Brian O'Connell has written for The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, 79 Radcliffe Drive, Doylestown, PA 18901, 215.230.3711, fax 267.880.1939, firstname.lastname@example.org