Most readers will know that so-called Swiss form claims (“Use of drug X in the manufacture of a medicament for the treatment of disease Y”) were first proposed by the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO in the EISAI case back in December 1984 to allow new uses for known drugs to be patented. This area is of considerable importance, because, as was set out in the resolution of AIPPI on this issue passed at the Toronto congress in September 2014: “Second medical uses may provide solutions to unmet medical needs and provide significant benefits to patients. They may require significant investment in research and development and represent socially, medically and economically valuable [...]
By Brian Cordery and Steven Willis
Regular readers of the Kluwer patent blog may recall that in April 2014, the English Patents Court revoked two patents relating to trastuzumab, the active ingredient in Herceptin, which is marketed outside of the US by Roche. One patent was for a dosage regimen and the other related to a composition of trastuzumab containing certain levels of impurities. The SPC for trastuzumab itself subsequently expired in July 2014, but as yet, Hospira has not launched its competing medicine in the UK. As part of its campaign to clear the way for launch, Hospira challenged two further related divisional patents – this time relating to lyophilised formulations of tra [...]
by Naomi Hazenberg and Brian Cordery
On Wednesday 22 October 2014, the Court of Appeal (Ref  EWCA Civ 1335) has upheld Birss J’s decision last year in HTC v Gemalto (Ref  EWHC 1876 (Pat)) but has found that he erred on a point of construction. The appeal concerned just one of the patents considered at first instance (EP (UK) 0932865) which relates to using higher level programming with a microcontroller. Only claim 3 (and its dependent claims) survived the attack on validity at first instance and HTC’s devices were held not to infringe.
At first instance, the judge needed to construe the term “microcontroller”. As it was not an expression used in ordinary English, expert [...]
By Gregory Bacon and Brian Cordery
The English Patents Court (Birss J) recently demonstrated a somewhat unconventional approach to answering the statutory question of obviousness when assessing inventive step*. The judgment also provides some guidance on the role of commercial as opposed to technical considerations, in particular regulatory concerns, when assessing obviousness. Leo Pharma, the defendant in these proceedings, market a successful product in the UK under the brand Dovobet Ointment. Teva sought to revoke two patents in Leo Pharma’s name which protect the Dovobet Ointment product. Leo Pharma in turn claimed infringement of the two patents by Teva’s proposed generic version of [...]
By Rachel Mumby and Brian Cordery
We reported recently that the IPCom Guidelines which set out when the English Court should stay patent actions pending EPO oppositions appear to be “More honour’d in the breach than the observance”. This had been in response to the decision of Arnold J of 10 July 2014 who had refused to grant such a stay despite relatively broad undertakings offered by the patentee in relation to such a stay.
In the postscript to the above judgment, Arnold J noted that after he had released his judgment in draft, the patentee, Pharmacia, had offered two additional undertakings to Actavis, the potential infringer, in return for a stay. In a new judgment, handed down on [...]
It is perhaps a poor reflection on the CJEU that it regularly issues rulings that, when the case is restored before the referring court, lead both parties to an action to claim victory. However this happened yet again when Warren J was given the unenviable task of implementing one of the trio of references decided by the CJEU last December in the world of SPCs.
Most readers will already be familiar with the facts of the Eli Lilly v HGS case. HGS has a patent directed to Neutrokine-alpha which includes a claim to antibodies which bind to this protein. This claim is drawn at a fairly broad level – anything that binds specifically to the full length Neutrokine-alpha polypeptide or the extrace [...]