patent cliff

(名詞) 一家公司因其主要獲利來源的專利到期而導致營收大幅滑落的情況。

There is a simple explanation for most of the mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical world these days: the so-called Patent Cliff. Simply put, many of the drug industry's biggest earners — blockbuster medications that have paid the bills for the last decade — are about to lose their patent protections.
—Christopher K. Hepp, "Big Pharma gearing up to face the Patent Cliff," The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 12, 2010

Lilly is already facing the biggest "patent cliff" in the industry. Five of its six leading products face generic competition in the next four years. Barbara Ryan, a stock analyst with Deutsche Bank, said Lilly's earnings will decline 35 percent by 2014 unless it makes one of the larger acquisitions it has historically resisted.
—Duff Wilson, "Lilly Stops Alzheimer's Drug Trials," The New York Times, August 17, 2010