Novartis does not file or enforce patents in least developed countries (LDCs) or low-income countries (LICs). In addition, we are committed to granting non-exclusive licenses to qualified third parties for supply of our patented products exclusively to LDCs or to LICs.
The United Nations designates LDCs as highly disadvantaged in their development process, for structural, historical and geographical reasons. LDCs are also characterized by their vulnerability to external economic shocks, natural and man-made disasters and communicable diseases. LICs are defined by the World Bank based on an assessment of gross national income per capita, which is influenced by factors such as income growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population change.
We recently reviewed our approach to patent filing in lower-middle income countries (LMICs) in an effort to better align it with the local socio-economic circumstances that exist in many of these countries. As a result, effective 2019, we decided to stop filing patent applications in nine LMICs where Novartis had previously filed. In the remaining LMICs, we will aim to restrict patent filings to those patent applications covering new molecules or new chemical entities.
In 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations launched the Patent Information Initiative for Medicines (Pat-INFORMED). Pat-INFORMED, of which we are a founding member, is a unique public online resource launched to provide basic patent information for medicines of participating companies. Novartis has listed patent information for all of our small-molecule medicines in the Pat-INFORMED database, which goes significantly beyond the program’s near-term goal of capturing information for medicines in a more limited set of disease areas.