Pharma Industry Trademarks and Trends in 2021

Stephen Stolfi,

The global pharmaceutical industry is responsible for the research, development, production, and marketing of medicines and today it is booming. As of 2020, the total global pharmaceutical market was valued at about $1.27 trillion and has seen exponential growth over the last twenty years, when it was valued at some $390 billion in 2001Market value is expected to exceed $2.1 trillion by 2027. 

This article uses Pharma-related trademark data to highlight some of the trends that are shaping the Pharma industry today. I also indicate the opportunities, as well as some of the challenges that these trends present to stakeholders.

Three trends that are shaping the Pharma industry today 

Those within the industry have worked hard to rise to the new challenges created by the disruption caused by new technologies, the pandemic, and the global demand for certain medications. Here are three trends in 2021 that reflect these industry drivers. 

1. Therapeutic innovations 

Innovative therapy is a new or modified therapy. Evaluation of such therapies can be transformative for clinical research. 

One example that has made headlines this year is Biogen/Eisal’s antibody Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm (aducanumab). Approved by the U.S. FDA in June 2021, the treatment may be beneficial to many of the estimated 50 million people living with dementia-related conditions globally.  

ADUHELM Marks Owned by Biogen 

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At the time of writing, trademark owner Biogen holds over 65 live (pending and valid) trademark registrations for the mark ADUHELM, the majority of which were filed in 2018 (74.2%). The top three registries where these marks are filed are the United Kingdom IPO (6.1%), the United States USPTO (4.5%), and the United Arab Emirates AE TMD (3%).

2. Drug development 

According to Pharma Manufacturing, R&D and drug development in five key sectors will be in focus in 2021. R&D for personalized medicines will continue and research will also focus on immunity. There will be significant investment by the Pharma industry in infectious disease and an increased market for sterile injectables (prefilled syringes). And Covid-19 will put pressure on other clinical trials. 

Over the past decade, there has been a broad trend towards home healthcare and the self-administration of sterile injectables. This has led to a projected global market of $9.53 billion for prefilled syringes by 2026. 

When running a trademark search filtered by the product description “prefilled syringes,” I discovered that, to date, over 1,500 trademark applications have been filed internationally — of which 83% have been deemed valid. The top product is Medical Syringes (Class 10) with a 66.4% ratio share of all applications. The top registries are Mexico’s IMPO (20.6%), followed by Morrocco's OMPIC (7.6%), and United States USPTO (7.1%). The top owner is Becton Dickinson & Co (USA) with 3.6%, followed by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Ltd (Ireland) and Medtronic PLC (Switzerland) who hold 3.4% and 3.2% of all applications respectively. 

The growing trend towards this market is reflected when examining the overall volumes of trademark applications year on year, which reveals significant growth from 2014 to 2020 of 1143%. 

Trademark Applications — Product Description Prefilled Syringes 

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One of the challenges for new drug development in 2021 is how to enroll enough patients to meet the needs of clinical trials. As long as Covid-19 poses a global threat, clinical trials may be negatively impacted, and the volume of new programs may be curtailed in the short term. It remains to be seen how far this will impact the clearance of new Pharma trademarks. 

3. Regulatory changes

While the Covid-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for the pharmaceutical industry — supply chain management chief among them — the crisis has also been a driver of efficiencies around regulatory change.

According to Bowman Cox, Executive Editor at Informa Pharma Intelligence, one potential area for reform is post-approval changes.  

“One of the big problems with COVID is that you have outbreaks happening in waves and degrading manufacturing capabilities at different facilities at different points in time. So many companies have had to request approval to switch manufacturing to another location. That process can be very involved — but it had to be done very quickly during the coronavirus pandemic.” 

Another efficiency that has been driven by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic is  improved international collaboration and the leveraging of new and existing remote practices from the review of records to sampling and quality testing — by regulators 

This was discussed recently during the ISPE Global Pharmaceutical Regulatory Summit, held on 28 April 2021. In his keynote presentation, Alonza Cruse, Director, Office of Pharmaceutical Quality Operations FDA/ORA, stated that the pandemic had forced the U.S. FDA to rethink its approach to inspections by using a risk-based approach involving various oversight tools, including the remote assessment of records and remote interactive evaluation of facilities by video/live streaming of operations (introduced in April 2021). 

Final thoughts 

While the Pharma industry has always faced unique legal and regulatory considerations, the rapid growth of Pharma trademark application volumes in recent years has added to screening and clearance workloads.  

Many IP professionals who operate in the Pharma industry are already leveraging existing technology and expert services to drive efficiencies in their own work. Initial lists of potential candidates numbering in the thousands are not unusual in this sector, and it is often down to both the marketing and legal teams to find a time-efficient method of weeding out weaker candidates to enable the company to bring their new drug names to market quickly. 

What if you could incorporate rapid preliminary screening in key jurisdictions and Pharma databases right into the brainstorming and name generation process in the initial stages? 

Now you can! In collaboration with global Pharma practitioners, Corsearch has innovated and created a new technology-driven solution, powered by POCA — CORSEARCH Pharma-Check.   

Introducing CORSEARCH Pharma-Check 

CORSEARCH Pharma-Check enables you to fast track your knockout trademark searches by narrowing down up to 150 trademark candidates at once against key Pharma databases — including 40 trademark registry sources, Pharma-in-use sources, regulatory sources, INN and USAN stems, and domain name data. 

Now you can get POCA-ranked results faster than ever before — so you can spend your time on the Pharma names that matter. 



*This is an informational opinion article by Stephen Stolfi with Corsearch. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of Corsearch or its clients. 

**The above noted third party trademarks are not affiliated with or owned by TrademarkNow, a Corsearch company, and are used for illustrative purposes only as public record from the respective Trademark Offices. 

By Stephen Stolfi
Stephen Stolfi a member of the Corsearch Executive Leadership Team. He has been with Corsearch for over 20 years and has worked in the brand clearance and protection solutions industry for close to 30 years. Throughout his career, Stephen has guided and trained numerous individuals at corporations and law firms on effective trademark search and brand protection strategies. He has also guest lectured on trademark clearance and protection at various colleges and universities throughout the U.S., as well as at local and global intellectual property associations. He has written a number of articles and has been quoted about brands in various industry publications and industry blogs. Stephen is Corsearch's Chief Commercial Officer.