Bloomberg Law
Dec. 6, 2022, 8:07 PM

Warren, Jayapal Push Patent Office to Tackle High Drug Prices

Riddhi Setty
Riddhi Setty

Progressive lawmakers are continuing to press the US Patent and Trademark Office on its efforts to combat high drug prices and what the lawmakers describe as anticompetitive business practices by pharmaceutical companies.

In a Monday letter to PTO Director Kathi Vidal, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) took the office to task for its letter responding to their June 2021 letter on the same topic. They wrote that the PTO’s lacking response “raises questions about whether the Office is fully cognizant of the ways in which evergreening, patent thickets, and product hopping undermine the legitimacy of our patent system or whether it views such practices as legitimate.”

The lawmakers requested that the PTO respond to their letter by Dec.19 with an update on its collaboration with the FDA and answers to a series of questions asked in their Dec. 5 letter.

Warren and Jayapal asked the office to share data from a study conducted by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board regarding patent appeals as well as information on how much time the PTO plans to add to the patent examination process. They also asked how the PTO can impartially evaluate its own system for reviewing patent continuation applications and how Congress can support the office in that endeavor.

In November, the PTO announced that it plans hold a public listening session in January in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration to hear input on increasing access to medicines.

Addressing the PTO’s recent efforts to collaborate with the FDA, the letter said that while the Warren and Jayapal are pleased by the collaboration, they “remain concerned that USPTO is not moving quickly or aggressively enough to combat abuses of the patent system.”

A PTO spokesperson acknowledged receipt of the letter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Riddhi Setty in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Adam M. Taylor at; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at

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