E.U. Court Advisor Rejects Bid To Close Drug Loophole

Law360, New York (January 23, 2007, 12:00 AM EST) -- A senior legal adviser to Europe's highest court has tossed a bid by pharmaceutical companies to close a legal loophole that allowed a Portuguese generic drug maker to produce a copycat version of one of Merck & Co.'s blood-pressure drugs whose 15-year patent protection had expired.

Under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, drug originators enjoy the right to a 20-year monopoly on their inventions. (The European Union signed on to that agreement in 1994.)

Before TRIPS, many countries provided only 15 years...
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