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Pharma's IP Legal Challenge
As major customers of RFID technology, pharma companies risk getting caught in a squeeze play between competing RFID vendors in a battle over RFID-related intellectual property.
Aug 13, 2006—With the number of RFID-related patents and litigations on the rise, the pharma industry should give more consideration to evaluating RFID patent portfolios when selecting RFID vendors to implement RFID drug pedigree programs.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office estimates that approximately 6,000 patents related to RFID technology have been issued in the United States. A corresponding increase in pending patent applications often accompanies an increase in issued patents, and USPTO estimates there are also approximately 6,000 RFID-related pending patent applications as well.
The total RFID-related federal decisions from this search (T) is reported under "Decisions" in Table 2, "RFID Litigation Index" (below right), followed by the number of decisions involving patents (P). Seven of the 16 reported RFID-related federal court decisions in the past 13 years have involved patent litigation.
A patent holder may sue any infringer of its patent, including the customer of a competing manufacturer. Thus, as major customers of RFID technology, pharma companies have an exposure to patent-infringement litigation and can be caught in a squeeze play between competing RFID vendors.
Concomitant with the increase in RFID patent filings and RFID-related litigation has been a demand in the pharma industry for reliable electronic track-and-trace technology to help secure the integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain by providing an accurate drug pedigree.
On June 8, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its most recent statement, the "FDA Counterfeit Drug Task Force Report: 2006 Update" (see FDA Issues New 'Counterfeit Drug Task Force' Report).
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