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WIPO & the Research-Based Pharmaceutical Industry Team up to Facilitate Access to Key Medicine Patent Information

Geneva, October 3, 2017

Released jointly by WIPO & IFPMA

The Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) & the research-based pharmaceutical industry today launched a new partnership to promote the accessibility of patent information for health agencies tasked with procurement of medicines.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Mr. Thomas Cueni, Director General of the Global Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), signed an agreement establishing the Patent Information Initiative for Medicines, or “Pat-INFORMED,” on the sidelines of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (center), Malawi’s Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel B. Tembenu (left), & Thomas Cueni, Director General of the Worldwide Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). (Photo: WIPO/Martin.) More photos on Flickr.

WIPO & IFPMA, the intercontinental trade association representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry, are co-sponsors of the initiative, which originated in the industry’s efforts to add clarity to the patent information around medicines. It couples the industry’s work in this area with WIPO’s well-established expertise in organizing patent data from across the international.

Pat-INFORMED will clearly link public patent information to registered medicines in a new online world gateway, helping health professionals to navigate the medicine-procurement process for the benefit of their citizens. 

“Pat-INFORMED will make it easier for procurement experts to assess the patent status of medicines, underlining how a well-designed & implemented patent system incentivizes innovation while making available & accessible key information about patented inventions,” said Mr. Gurry. “I welcome the engagement of IFPMA and its membership in this initiative, which responds to real needs in the public health community.”

“We can proudly say that this collaboration with WIPO shows the private sector’s initiative to propose practical solutions to reduce the complexity around patent information.  Helping ease access to patent information for public health authorities can help them establish smarter procurement strategies, one building block of improved worldwide health,” said Mr. Thomas Cueni, Director General IFPMA.

Pat-INFORMED will act as a worldwide gateway to medicine patent information.  It will offer new tools & resources to determine the existence of patents relevant to products sought by procurement bodies’ disease-management strategies or other work addressing public health needs.

Twenty leading intercontinental research-based biopharmaceutical companies have already committed to make information available via a database to be established by Pat-INFORMED, with more organizations expected to join.

“The Pat-INFORMED initiative launched today by IFPMA and WIPO is an important step to reduce uncertainty and improve transparency in medicines procurement. By adding the information on the worldwide patent status from patent-holding companies to that from national patent offices, the process for procurement agencies & other people to determine the scope of patent protection for medicines will be markedly improved. I'm delighted that the pharmaceutical industry has taken this important step,” said Mr. Trevor Mundel, President of the International Health Division at the Gates Foundation.

While patent information is publicly available around the global, resources that directly link granted patents to marketed medicines are currently only available publicly in certain countries (e.g. the USA’s ‘Orange Book’) or through private third-party databases. 

Pat-INFORMED aims to help close these gaps, & make the management of patent issues in procurement less time- & resource-intensive. Pat-INFORMED also offers qualified procurement agencies a communication channel for follow-on inquiries, through which participating companies have agreed to provide more detailed information about granted patents on specific products.

The online initiative is expected to be operational by mid-2018 & will provide patent information for small molecule products within oncology; hepatitis C, cardiovascular, HIV, diabetes, & respiratory therapy areas; & any products on the WHO Essential Medicines List that are not within these therapy areas. In a second phase, the initiative will expand to all therapeutic areas & explore the inclusion of complex therapeutics. 


IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies & associations across the globe. The research-based pharmaceutical industry’s two million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of patients worldwide. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations & contributes industry expertise to help the world health community find solutions that improve world health. 

For further information, please contact Sadia Kaenzig, Communications Manager at IFPMA

About WIPO

The Global Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the worldwide forum for intellectual property policy, services, information & cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 191 member states in developing a balanced world IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries & resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. & it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:

  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • Fax: (+41 22) 338 81 40
  • E-mail


Updated: October 3, 2017 — 8:21 am

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