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Pharmaceutical patent litigation ensues when a pharmaceutical company “bends” the patent laws. A patent expires after 20 years, but a company could apply to extend the patent. If a patent is extended, there is a possibility that a monopoly could be formed. If a monopoly on a certain drug is formed, health care costs rise, and it might be difficult for a patient to obtain a much-needed drug.
During patent litigation, discovery is always required. All documents, electronic and hard copy, must be provided to the opposing counsel. Certain documents are exempt from discovery. These documents fall under certain confidentiality laws and include certain correspondence between an attorney and the attorney's client.
Discovery requests come in different forms: requests for production, interrogatories, depositions, and requests for admissions. Documents may be requested in any of these formats. Prior to providing documents, an attorney must review the documents being sent out to ensure that no confidential documents are being produced.
The document review process is time consuming, so many firms retain temporary attorneys experienced in the pharmaceutical field to review documents prior to production.