All Kinds of Pharma Products Big and Small - Protecting Us All

Lisa Wright,

The Pharmaceutical industry has undoubtedly changed our world for the better. Pharma industry research and development (R&D) has saved millions of lives and increased the life expectancy of us all. It is difficult to articulately set out the incredible difference modern medicines and vaccines have made to our existence. This excerpt from a UC Berkeley study provides an idea of how far we have come:

"In London, in 1830, the average lifespan for middle to upper-class males was 44 years, 25 for tradesmen and 22 for laborers. 57 of every 100 children in working class families were dead by five years of age."

Rubeola virus

For a specific example of the astonishing achievement of the Pharma sector, let's look at measles. The measles is caused by the Rubeola virus, which belongs to the Paramyxovirus family. It is an acute systemic viral infection with fever, respiratory involvement and symptoms, and a rash. Measles can cause serious complications and even fatalities. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 140,000 people died from measles in 2018 – mostly children under the age of five. However, less than 30 years earlier, the death toll from this disease was 2.6 million. The Pharma industry can take a lot of credit for this remarkable reduction in deaths.

The measles vaccine was licensed in America in 1963 (it became available in the UK in 1968). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared a goal of eliminating measles from the United States by 1982. Although this goal was not met, an uptake in measles vaccination in the late 1970s and early 1980s saw the number of infections plummet by a staggering 80% by 1982.

Thanks to vaccines, mothers all over the world have been spared the grief of losing a child  to a host of childhood diseases such as typhoid, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough.  

Education - Pharma’s indirect gift 

Many mothers have also had access to birth control provided by the Pharma industry. Both of these factors mean that millions of women around the world have had fewer children, perhaps at an older age, which allowed them to obtain an education. This indirect benefit provided by the Pharma sector has resulted in families all over the world lifting themselves out of desperate poverty (although there is still a way to go before equality is achieved).  

Now humanity is relying on Pharma R&D to solve the biggest crisis since the Second World War – the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race for a vaccine

The Pharma industry routinely faces many challenges and many of these were highlighted in our recent webinar hosted by Tiffany Walter of F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG: "Main Challenges of Trademark Management in the Pharma Industry."  

Join our next webinar: 
Understanding Bad Faith in EU Trademark Law

But COVID-19, which has shut down economies and cost hundreds of thousands of lives, is on a different scale. Pharma companies around the globe are furiously collaborating with universities and governments to find an effective vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. The normal timescale for creating a new vaccine is seven to ten years. But this schedule is being compressed with the support of non-profit organizations, government agencies and regulatory authorities.

It was announced on 10 June 2020 that Johnson & Johnson has moved up the start of human clinical trials for its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 to the second half of July. And, to support its R&D, the company received USD$500 million through a partnership via a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Novavax is a step ahead, stating in late May that it had begun enrolling human participants in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial. Preliminary immunogenicity (the ability to provoke an immune response) and safety results from the Phase 1 portion of the trial are expected in July 2020. 

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have announced an agreement for the global development and distribution of the University's potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine. But most promising of all, American biotech company Moderna Therapeutics received Fast Track designation on 21 May 2020 from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 candidate vaccine, mRNA-1273. Just before this approval, the FDA also authorised Moderna to initiate a Phase II clinical trial study. Both the Fast Track designation and the start of the Phase II trial mean that mRNA-1273 may be the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved and distributed.

Protecting frontline workers

Pharma companies are also developing personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard frontline healthcare and care home/nursing home workers who are battling on the frontline against the virus, while the world waits for a vaccine. Some notable examples include:

  • Fresenius – the German company, has stated it is committed to helping high-risk patients and has made subsidiary Curalie's digital healthcare services available free of charge to help vulnerable patients obtain medical services.
  • Stada – as part of its strategy to support healthcare workers around the world the organisation's donations include healthcare monitors In Serbia, first-aid kits in Spain, medicines in Russia, skincare products for healthcare professionals in the UK, face masks in Italy, and Pharmacy queuing stickers in Austria and Ireland. 
  • Lonza – is distributing disinfectants and sanitisers 
  • Sunovion – has donated cases of personal protective equipment including respirators, masks, safety goggles and gloves, as well as protective suits, gowns, and shoe covers plus provided food donations to food banks in America and the UK.
  • Siemens Healthineers has made available its molecular Fast Track Diagnostics (FTD) SARS-CoV-2 Assay test kit to diagnose COVID-19.  BIOHIT Healthcare is also distributing test kits for the diagnosis of both current and past COVID-19 infections – vital to supporting healthcare and other frontline workers remain at work.

Trademarking products which fight COVID-19

Trademarks have always played a vital role in protecting the integrity of Pharmaceutical products. And, personal protection healthcare products are no exception. 

To gain an insight into this flourishing market and discover current valid trademark volumes - as well as top registries and filers - we ran business intelligence analysis using our ExaMatch tool on the worldwide activity of trademarks in Nice Class 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies) and Nice Class 10 (Medical Devices). Using our ExaMatch filter we added following six product descriptions: 

  • Hygiene mask
  • Antibody test kit
  • Virus testing kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medical gloves
  • Surgical gown

1. Hygiene mask

With worldwide overall volumes of just under 18 thousand valid trademarks, the top three filers are all from Japan. KOBAYASHI SEIYAKU, K.K. (6.4%) takes the top spot followed by HISAMITSU PHARMACEUTICAL CO, Inc. (3.3%) and ROHTO SEIYAKU, K.K. (1.8%). 

The top registry by far is Japan JPO (90.2%) with South Korea (6.4%) and Mexico (0.8%) taking second and third position globally.

2. Antibody test kit

It is interesting to note that there are just 15 valid trademarks at the time of writing filed in these Nice Classes with the product description 'antibody test kit’. The top filer is Danaher Corp (Switzerland) with 4 applications and yet the top registry is South Korea’s KIPO with a ratio of 40%. 

3. Virus testing kit

There are only 3 valid trademarks currently and they are all found in Nice Class 5. One mark can be found in European Union’s EUIPO, Thailand’s DIP and Taiwan’s TIPO! 

4. Hand sanitizer

There are over valid 11,600 trademark applications with the product description 'hand sanitizer' under Nice Class 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies) and Nice Class 10 (Medical Devices). Further analysis using our preliminary trademark search tool ExaMatch reveals that the market is heavily populated and the top three owners are Suyen Corporation (1%) from the Philippines, Bath & Body Works Brand Management, Inc (0.5%) and Gojo Industries, Inc (0.5%) - both from the United States.

The top registry is China’s CNIPA (66.1%), followed by South Korea’s KIPO (4.2%) and the United State’s USPTO (4.2%).

5. Medical gloves

Currently we see over 32 thousand valid trademarks with product description ‘medical gloves’. Top owners are Japanese companies ATSUGI CO, Ltd. (1.6%), HISAMITSU PHARMACEUTICAL CO, Inc. (1.3%) and GUNZE, Ltd. (0.9%). The top registry is Japan’s JPO with a ration of 71.1%.

6. Surgical gown

With over 2,200 valid trademarks containing this product description, the top filers hail from Japan, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Top registries are Japan’s JPO (20%), the United States USPTO (10.3%) and Taiwan’s TIPO (9.9%).

Every big and small amount will count

The Pharma industry continues to play an extraordinary role in the fight against all kinds of mental health and physical illnesses, including COVID-19. 

The industry has also been the driving force behind many relief efforts, for example, Johnson & Johnson recently committed USD$50 million to support frontline workers and Gilead Sciences has created the Gilead CARES (COVID-19 Acute Relief and Emergency Support) Grantee Fund to provide financial support to current grantees of non-profit groups facing disruption or closure of services due to losses attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Merck & Co has committed to providing USD$3 million to help health systems meet the needs of pregnant women before, during, and following delivery. And Eli Lilly and Company has introduced the Lilly Insulin Value Program to allow patients with commercial insurance and those without insurance to fill their monthly prescription of Lilly insulin for USD$35.

Want to get more insights into global trademark activity in the Pharma industry today?

Examatch is our robust multi-functional business research and preliminary trademark search tool. It delivers exact and semi-exact match results across over 180 countries’ PTO databases enabling you to drill into your search results with easy to use filters. And, you get instant results as you type!

A full set of Pharma-in-use data and clinical trials (including IMS Health, POCA (FDA), INN and USAN data) is also available on the TrademarkNow platform for trademark professionals.

You can access helpful dashboards for every trademark owner and brand, which show trademark activity by product class and type, around the world, with links to the PTO details.

Find out how TrademarkNow can bring your trademark business to the next level!New call-to-action

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