Malta's Bolar Exemption: An Incentive for Investment & Innovation

How Malta earned a place in the global pharma industry

Dr. Maria Chetcuti Cauchi | 08 Mar 2020

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Since time immemorial, inventors were applauded, encouraged and financially rewarded for their efforts in seeking refinement to existing modes of practice and developing new ones. In fact, such traces of endowment could be traced back to 500BC, where “encouragement was held out to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury, the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year” (City of Sybaris).

The last five centuries have seen a proliferation of legislation and regulations that protect inventors and encourage them in producing new commodities, re-engineering existing traditional methods and scientifically researching and producing new compounds and compositions. Legislative interventions are frequent and numerous. Examples range from the enactment of a decree in Republic of Venice in 1474 that new and inventive devices put into practice had to be communicated to the Republic to obtain the right to prevent others from using them, to the first US Congress Patent Act in 1790, and the issuance of the first US patent for a potash production technique on July 31, 1790.

Inventions in Malta have been protected since 1899.  Through the decades, the law regulating the protection of inventions was amended several times. Yet, in the last decade the regulator felt the pressing needs of inventors to have a modern legislation that would protect their interests whilst at the same time avoiding that creativity and innovation are stifled. Hence the need to revise the old governing legislation and promulgate new provisions which would cater for the requirements of today’s business and science community as well as conforming with EU law and practices.
The tug of war between upholding inventors’ rights and the need to promote innovation, creativity and sustainable development (especially for less developed countries) has never been more economically and politically felt than today. Presently the need to balance the two ideologies is paramount, especially in the pharmaceutical development arena.

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