Patent News

May. 15, 2015

KY Forward Commentary: Patent legislation could bring biopharmaceutical research to abrupt halt, by Kyle Keeney

This post originally appeared in KY Forward on May 15, 2015.

Kyle Keeney is the executive director of the Kentucky Life Science Council. 

The biopharmaceutical firm AbbVie and the University of Kentucky just unveiled a new gel therapy targeting the devastating neurological disorder, Parkinson’s, which afflicts nearly a million Americans. Earlier this year, UK researchers obtained a patent for a Parkinson’s treatment method involving protein injections into the brain.

Unfortunately, Congress is on the verge of smothering vital research, such as this. Lawmakers are looking to pass legislation that would compromise intellectual property protections and choke off funding for new medical development. Our leaders must stop the misguided bill before it becomes law.

Patents play an essential role in medical innovation. In exchange for publicly disclosing the details of their inventions, innovators receive exclusive rights to their products for a set period of time. By penalizing copycats, patent laws help to ensure that inventors are fairly rewarded for their research efforts.

Patents are particularly critical to universities here in the Bluegrass State. The University of Kentucky brought in $3.3 million from licensing their patents last year. These funds help support the inventor’s department and commercialization of UK technologies and startups. –