otherwise change or revise our historical financial statements, including those contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our business may be affected by litigation and government investigations.
We may from time to time receive inquiries and subpoenas and other types of information requests from government authorities and others and we may become subject to claims and other actions related to our business activities. While the ultimate outcome of investigations, inquiries, information requests and legal proceedings is difficult to predict, defense of litigation claims can be expensive, time-consuming and distracting, and adverse resolutions or settlements of those matters may result in, among other things, modification of our business practices, costs and significant payments, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks Related to Intellectual Property
If we are not able to obtain and enforce patent protection for our technology or therapeutic candidates, development and commercialization of our therapeutic candidates may be adversely affected.
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, including in-licenses of intellectual property rights of others, for our therapeutic candidates, methods used to manufacture our therapeutic candidates and methods for treating patients using our therapeutic candidates, as well as our ability to preserve our trade secrets, to prevent third parties from infringing upon our proprietary rights and to operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others. As of December 31, 2017, our patent portfolio consists of over 55 issued patents and allowed patent applications and over 135 pending patent applications. We may not be able to apply for patents on certain aspects of our therapeutic candidates in a timely fashion or at all. Our existing issued and granted patents and any future patents we obtain may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from using our technology or from developing competing therapeutics and technology. There is no guarantee that any of our pending patent applications will result in issued or granted patents, that any of our issued or granted patents will not later be found to be invalid or unenforceable or that any issued or granted patents will include claims that are sufficiently broad to cover our therapeutic candidates or to provide meaningful protection from our competitors. Moreover, the patent position of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies can be highly uncertain because it involves complex legal and factual questions. We will be able to protect our proprietary rights from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent that our current and future proprietary technology and therapeutic candidates are covered by valid and enforceable patents or are effectively maintained as trade secrets. If third parties disclose or misappropriate our proprietary rights, it may materially and adversely impact our position in the market.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent process. There are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case. The standards applied by the USPTO and foreign patent offices in granting patents are not always applied uniformly or predictably. For example, there is no uniform worldwide policy regarding patentable subject matter or the scope of claims allowable in biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents. As such, we do not know the degree of future protection that we will have on our proprietary therapeutics and technology. While we will endeavor to try to protect our therapeutic candidates with intellectual property rights such as patents, as appropriate, the process of obtaining patents is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes unpredictable.
In addition, there are numerous recent changes to the patent laws and proposed changes to the rules of the USPTO, which may have a significant impact on our ability to protect our technology and enforce our intellectual property rights. For example, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act enacted in 2011, involves significant changes in patent legislation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, some of which cases either narrow the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weaken the rights of patent owners