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Utynam's Heirs

A monthly column devoted to IP curiosities and controversies, named in honour of John of Utynam - who received the world's first recorded patent in 1449

The drug that dare not speak its name

Utynam was pleased to receive a piece of news from a Chinese law firm about Pfizer's recent victory in a Beijing court over a patent related to its anti-impotence drug Viagra.

In an email accompanying a press release prepared by Peksung, which advised Pfizer in its long-running dispute with a group of Chinese companies over the patent, the sender informed Utynam that "a decision was made today by Beijing Higher Court regarding the Chinese patent on Pfizer's popular drug".

Utynam thought little more of Peksung's enigmatic refusal to name its client's blockbuster drug until he sent a reply thanking the firm for its timely update on developments in the Viagra case. The email bounced back having been rejected by the firm's electronic gatekeepers for containing a banned keyword.

Utynam is intrigued to know how Pfizer's in-house...

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