[Ip-health] How to Search for Patents on Medicines

Tahir Amin tahirmamin at gmail.com
Sun Sep 19 20:44:19 PDT 2010

Dear all,

The issue of how to search for patents on medicines is regularly raised by
NGOs, government bodies and procurement agencies.

Given the absence of teaching materials on this subject, I have written a a
step-by-step guide on how to conduct patent searches on medicines. The guide
was written on behalf of the World Health Organization (South-East Asia and
Western Pacific Regions).

Primarily written for beginners, the guide may also be useful for those who
want to build on their basic understanding of the subject.

Using screenshots, live examples are provided on how to search for
pharmaceutical product patents listed on the US FDA Orange Book and the
Health Canada Patent Register. Using this information, the guide
demonstrates how to trace the corresponding patents in other countries.

Additionally, introductory techniques on how to expand on Orange Book/Health
Canada patent searches are provided, including keyword and citation
searching. Such techniques are important to find comprehensive information
on the various patents covering a single product. Although by no means
exhaustive, the guide attempts to provide as much information as possible on
how to navigate currently available patent office databases and patent
office journals.

The guide has now been published and can be downloaded
either of these links:

For a high resolution version:


For a low resolution version:


Alternatively, if you would like hard cop(ies), email me at
tahirmamin at gmail.com.

Tahir Amin
Co-Founder and Director of Intellectual Property
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)

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