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More honour’d in the breach than the observance

In a decision dated 11th July 2014, the English Patents Court (Arnold J.) has again refused to stay proceedings to revoke an EP(UK) whilst opposition proceedings are on-going at the EPO. The decisive factor in this decision seems again to have been the lengthy duration of the EPO proceedings. However, the undertakings offered by the patentee were such that it is considered that it will be a rare occasion when English proceedings are stayed despite the Court of Appeal guidelines indicating that this should be the default option.

The facts before the Court were quite simple: Pharmacia is the owner of a patent for sustained release dosage forms of pramipexole, a drug used in the treatment o [...]

A (not so) Wii decision from the English High Court

By Brian Cordery and Rachel Mumby

Computer games enthusiasts will be interested in this decision from the English High Court in which it was found that the Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems infringe two patents owned by Philips. And for those with World Cup Football fever… one of Philips’ experts had previously done research which showed that in Geoff Hurst’s controversial goal in the 1966 World Cup Football final, the whole of the ball did not cross the whole of the line.

There were three patents in issue. The first (EP’484) relates to “modelling a virtual body in a virtual environment” i.e. Wii games where the player stands/runs on a “Balance Board” in order to control move [...]

Hospira clears the way for generic Herceptin

The development of Herceptin (trastuzumab) in the late 1980s and 1990s is one of the most remarkable advances in the treatment of breast cancer. The story of the drug and its pioneer, the “velvet jackhammer”, Dennis Slamon, is neatly summarised in Siddhartha Mukherjee’s award winning novel: “The Emperor of All Maladies – a Biography of Cancer” – a fascinating if not necessarily uplifting read.

In short, unlike traditional chemotherapy, trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody which specifically targets a receptor known as HER-2 which is involved in the development of breast cancer. No-one disputes that the development of Herceptin was a landmark advance in the field of oncology – [...]

Simplicity is no Objection – The illuminating saga of Collingwood Lighting Limited v Aurora Limited (10 February 2014)

by Katie Hutchinson & Brian Cordery

A recent judgment from Mr Justice Roth in the UK Patents Court found a patent for a fire resistant LED downlight valid and infringed. The gist of the invention was said to be a simple change from the state of the art but it was held that just because it was a simple change that did not preclude it from being inventive. On novelty, the one cited piece of prior art was held not to describe something which if performed would “necessarily lead to the making of the subject-matter of the patent” and thus not an anticipation according to the law as most recent stated by the House of Lords in the Synthon case back in 2005. Further, the prior art documents c [...]

English Court underlines importance of Mindset and the Common General Knowledge

Eugen Seitz AG v KHS Corpoplast GmbH and Norgren AG [2014] EWHC 14 (Ch) is an interesting case relating to the valves in stretch blow moulding machines used to make plastic bottles. The patent was alleged to be invalid for both lack of novelty and obviousness, although the Defendants denied that the relevant prior art had actually been made available to the public. In the alternative, the claimants sought a declaration of non-infringement in relation to certain claims of the patent. The trial judge was Roth J, who does not hear many patent cases but is gaining experience all the time.

The sole novelty citation was a fax sent around nine years before the priority date from the head of d [...]

Staying UK Proceedings Pending EPO Oppositions – Commercial Common Sense Prevails

In IPCom GmbH & Co KG v HTC Europe Co Limited and others [2013] EWCA Civ 1496, the English Court of Appeal has very recently given guidance concerning the circumstances in which it is appropriate for an English court considering combined patent infringement and revocation proceedings to stay those proceedings pending the outcome of co-pending opposition proceedings at the EPO. There has long been a question mark as to whether national courts should proceed with a patent dispute in such cases. If a national court does proceed then this brings the risk of inconsistent decisions. As the EPO ultimately trumps national courts on questions of validity, speedier national proceedings can be underm [...]

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