89th Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group Conference Recap


The 89th Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group ("PTMG") meeting was hosted last week from October 8-10, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. With the intriguing theme "The Multi-Faceted Personality of a Pharmaceutical Trade Mark", the meeting sessions revolved around a variety of issues related to trademark use, protection and enforcement in the traditional marketplace as well as on the Internet. Panels discussed the ways in which First Amendment issues can come into play, the interplay with between trademarks and identity rights, direct to consumer advertising in the US, counterfeiting and brand valuation.

Amongst the interesting presentations, the Deputy Director of CDER at the FDA, Ms. Kellie Taylor, updated the group on recent developments in the FDA's review of proprietary names for pharmaceuticals, including an overview of the Draft Guidance the FDA released on May 28, 2014 for Best Practices for Developing Proprietary Names. Ms. Taylor noted that the FDA is considering the possibility of reserving names that are tentatively accepted, and encouraged interested parties to submit comments on this issue before the public comment period closes on October 24, 2014. There was also an engaging panel discussion on the development of non-propriety names involving officials from the US Adopted Names Counsel ("USAN") and the World Health Organization ("WHO"), which included tips on how to avoid rejection and some best practices in developing trade names.

The Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy ("NAPB"), Mr. Carmen Catizone, also gave a sobering presentation on the serious risks posed by the sale of counterfeit pharmaceutical products on the Internet, noting the sale of pharmaceuticals over the Internet is a $1B industry and that of the11,000 websites reviewed by NAPB, 97% of them were illegal or rogue. Some of the products purchased from these sites were found on online pharmacies tied to criminal activities, making it all the more dangerous to supply these unauthorized online pharmacies with personal health and credit card information. In order to help address the serious public health and safety concerns posed by the sale of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, the NAPB has secured the new gTLD ".pharmacy" and its hope is that certified pharmacies will register with and use this new .pharmacy gTLD so that it becomes a reliable place for the purchase of genuine/authorized pharmaceutical products.

PTMG’s 90th Conference will take place March 23-24, 2015 in Venice, Italy.