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Chinese researchers have applied for a patent on experimental drug from Gilead Sciences

https://www.thestreet.com/investing/gilead-falls-post-earnings-but-china-wants-to-patent-its-coronavirus-drug

My question is related to this news, How can a patent be applied by someone who did not invent it in the first place?

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One can apply for a patent on a new use for an existing drug. You still might need a license to produce the drug so the original patent owner may well encourage such activity.

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My question is related to this news, How can a patent be applied by someone who did not invent it in the first place?

I agree @Eric Shain had answered most of your question. I would like to add the background of the case.

As China is suffering from an epidemic out break of Coronavirus (2019-nCov) the doctors are struggling to determine what is the best cocktail of drugs to be given to treat infection.

The Gilead drug had been designed to flight another virus i.e., Ebola virus but it had not shown the promise in fighting Ebola. Ebola being a same family Gilead approached Chinese regulatory authority to test the product in small group of patients, and it showed promise when combined with other drug used to treat pneumonia. Here Gilead only provided the drug the combination was invented by Wuhan labs.

Chinese government want to protect it interests in the drug and prevent from being exploited for the drug they filed the patent. ( For your information china doesn't grant patents for method of treatment it just want to protect the interests in the drug so the remedy is available for all)

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If two parties invent something at about the same time they might both file a patent application. It frequently happens that a new problem arises and more that one group come up with the same solution.

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