Political Principles

Innovation requires investment.
Good ideas must be worthwhile.

Patents are an essential incentive for investment in the research and development of new products and technologies. Protection against product imitation for a limited period of time is in everyone’s interests: investment has time to pay off, and once the period of protection has expired the innovation be used by all.

Three brief questions

Does patent protection prevent technological progress in emerging countries?

The temporary protection of intellectual property fosters research and development in all countries. It is also the basis for the spread of innovations – making it possible to buy and sell innovations.

Does patent protection hamper healthcare in developing countries?

Patent protection is a prerequisite for an efficient healthcare system, since without it hardly any drugs would be developed. Furthermore, over 90% of what the World Health Organization calls ‘essential medicines’ have long-since been out of patent and are offered by various companies worldwide.

Does patent protection prevent the widespread use of climate-protection measures, especially in developing countries?

No. Most climate-protection technologies are not patented in developing countries. Lack of infrastructure has a much more serious obstacle than patent protection. And here, too, it is true that hardly any climate technologies would be developed without patent protection.

Five demands

Harmonization and simplification

Both the global and the European Union’s patent system should be harmonized and made more user-friendly. Reducing the costs of bureaucracy would enable more funds to flow into research and development. In this context we welcome ‘enhanced cooperation’ between the majority of EU states in which virtually all the EU countries have agreed on an efficient Community patent. The aim is to incorporate all EU countries.

Technology transfer

The WTO’s TRIPS agreement allows restrictions of patent protection in exceptional cases, for example where there is urgent demand for a drug or in the interests of technology transfer. The scope defined there should not be exceeded.

Data exclusivity

Extensive information is submitted to the authorities when applying for the approval of new drugs or pesticides. This information is the result of many years of complex research and must be protected.

Counterfeiting

Faked products in the fields of health and nutrition not only endanger patients and consumers, but also undermine the competitiveness of manufacturers. Industry, associations, government agencies and non-governmental organizations should work together and act decisively against product piracy.

Patent inflation and abuse

Trivial patents harm both innovative companies and the general public; so-called ‘patent trolls’ abuse patent law with the aim of forcing royalty payments.

Bayer patents – Facts and figures

  • Approx. 67,400 currently valid patent applications and patents worldwide
  • Approx. 8,700 protected inventions worldwide
  • Approx. 6,500 patent applications per annum worldwide
  • Approx. 700 new inventions per annum
  • Approx. 400 new research-and-development contracts with universities, research institutions and industry per annum
  • Approx. 40 percent of sales based on proprietary products or processes
  • A patent has a life of 20 years
  • It takes an average of approx. twelve years to develop a new drug
  • As a rule, approx. eight years of patent protection remain for a drug after its approval
  • Bayer’s share of Germany’s total annual research-and-development expenditure amounts to approx. 2 percent
Last updated: June 2, 2014 Copyright © Bayer AG
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