On January 4, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) released draft amendments to the Chinese Patent Law, proposing expanded and enhanced protections that may provide real benefits to companies that develop new drugs. A potentially important condition to one of the key proposed changes specific to new drugs is that it would be available only for products that are submitted for marketing approval concurrently in China and other countries. Although clearly intended to motivate companies to prioritize seeking new drug approvals in China, the proposed patent term extension would appear to be limited to products that are first submitted for marketing approval to China and another country, and would not apply to products first filed only in China. As a practical matter, this may limit the usefulness of the provision.
The proposed patent law changes could be significant, and the public comment period, which runs through February 3, offers companies an opportunity to voice support and/or suggest revisions to enhance the proposal.