Patenting medicines

Patents are granted on new therapeutically active compounds and pharmaceutical formulations.

Procedures for treatment by surgery, therapy or diagnostics carried out in living humans or animals are, however, excluded from patenting. The exclusion does not cover products, compounds or compositions for use in such procedures.

Patents give sole right to utilise the invention for a limited period (maximum 20 years). They contribute to making results known in a particular specialist field, and in doing so help to contribute to further research on new medicines and innovation.

Due to the high investment costs, it is important to the pharmaceutical industry to have an opportunity to protect products that are placed on the market by obtaining intellectual property rights. 

The “effective” patent period for medicines is often substantially shorter than for other patented inventions, because medicines have to undergo extensive testing before they gain marketing authorisation and can be sold. An option to apply for an extended period of protection for medicines for up to five (5) years has therefore been introduced. This is known as a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC).
Read more about SPC 
Link to SPC application form (the form is in Norwegian only)

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