Big news from the pharmaceutical industry today, as U.S. pharm giant, Merck, plans to buy internationally strong Schering-Plough for $41 billion. This deal comes on the heels of the Pfizer/Wyeth deal, and proves yet again that a patent portfolio must continue to reinvent itself or else drastic actions must be taken. Merck was facing patent expirations on many of its largest profit-making drugs in the next 3-7 years. Schering-Plough apparently doesn’t have the same exposure to patent phase-outs, and its sales are largely from international markets outside of the U.S. There is talk, however, that investors for Schering-Plough will want the price at least another $10 billion higher. We will have to watch and see what happens on that front, but for now, another large pharm company expands its patent roster . . .