Poor Eli Lilly
November 16, 2000 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Poor Eli Lilly is going to lose it's Prozac patent protection soon, though not quite yet. via Follow Me Here
posted by dcodea (5 comments total)
It's amazing they don't pull the same shenanigans for patents as for copyright. Then they'd have the things last in perpetuity.
posted by leo at 6:07 AM on November 16, 2000

I'm sure they're on it.

Actually, does anyone know the laws about this? I would think that the development of a new drug would be a work for hire in the truest sense. (I'm clearly wrong, but why?)
posted by chicobangs at 7:32 AM on November 16, 2000

Well, of course the scientists who developed the drug don't have the rights to it. So in that sense you're correct. In terms of copyright protection, it doesn't fall under the class of things that are copyrightable.

Here's some background on why it's expiring, two years earlier than originally thought, due to a judge's ruling that Lilly "double-patented" the drug back in the early 70s. Only the earlier patent applied, hence the earlier expiration.

I wouldn't be terribly concerned -- this particular cash cow has reaped $billions. It's about time that SSRIs started becoming available in generic form, too.
posted by dhartung at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2000

Scientists and engineers who work for corporations to develop intellectual property sign employment contracts which explicitly yield to the corporation all rights to the intellectual property that they develop, including any patents. This is perfectly legal, and it applies both to patents and to copyrights.

You can have a right to something under the law, and sell that right under contract. That's what's going on. As an engineer, I've signed such a contract for every company I've ever worked for. In exchange I get pay and benefits (and most recently stock options).

In principle I have rights to every patent with my name on it. In practice, I had presold all those rights to the company which employed me, and I don't have any more rights to those patents than you do.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2000

...But they do look good on my resume.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2000

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