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The Judgment of 12 March 2015 of the CJEU in Actavis v. BI: is the “subject-matter of the patent” test crafted by the AG in Medeva to replace the “core inventive advance” test?

On 12 March 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published the judgment announced in our last blog in Case C-577/13, in response to some of the preliminary questions referred by the High Court of Justice (England and Wales), Chancery Division (Patents Court) in a case between Actavis Group EHF, Actavis UK Ltd (“Actavis”) and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG. (“BI”).  The facts of the case before the referring Court may be summarised as follows:

Background of the case:

On 9 August 1999, BI was granted a Supplementary Protection Certificate (“SPC”) for Telmisartan based on a marketing authorisation for Telmisartan granted on 16 December 1998 and patent EP (UK) 50 [...]

SPC cases are back and there are more to come: will the CJEU definitively heal the Medeva wounds on 12 march, or will it rub salt into them?

The Supplementary Protection Certificate (“SPC”) seas have been relatively calm after the turmoil caused by “Super Thursday” (i.e. 12 December 2013), when shortly before packing for Christmas the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published three judgments on SPCs in a row. However, over the last few months there have been recent developments, some of which we would like to pick-up on in this blog.

The first development relates to what the relevant date is for calculating the term of the SPC: the date when the marketing authorization was “granted” or the date when the applicant was notified of the decision granting the authorization. So far, patent offices in the United Kingdom [...]

Mollusc patent litigation: going back in time

For those who thought that patent litigation was only relevant for big pharma or cutting-edge telecom devices, it may be of interest to learn about a relatively recent judgment from the Court of Appeal of A Coruña that has resolved a fierce dispute around patents protecting mollusc cleaning machines. A Coruña is one of the main cities on the coast of Galicia, one of the gastronomic paradises of European seafood lovers. So it is not surprising that the dispute revolved around four machines that the defendant had acquired for the purpose of cleaning molluscs.

In its judgment of 11 September 2014, the Court of Appeal of A Coruña dismissed the appeal filed by the owner of two patents that pro [...]

Recent judgment sheds further light on the “imminence” imbroglio

Rather ironically, Directive 2004/48/EC (the “Enforcement Directive”), which was meant to enhance the protection of intellectual property rights throughout the European Union (“EU”), had just the opposite effect, at least in one aspect. As the readers know well, the Directive requires the applicant of a preliminary injunction to prove that an act of infringement is “imminent.” The introduction of this “imminency” requirement, which was not a condition for granting a preliminary injunction in some EU member states, has since then caused national courts to struggle to try to untangle the exact boundaries of this requirement.
In a post published on 2 July 2013, we discussed a Ruling handed down [...]

Recent judgment from Court of Appeal of Navarre illustrates that launching at risk can be a painful gardening experience

Many readers, particularly those based on one of the islands to the Northwest of the Canal de La Manche, will remember the famous metaphor used by then Justice Robin Jacob in his Decision of 23 October de 2001 (paroxetine):

The defendants could, so soon as they settled upon the product they were intending to sell, have caused the litigation to start. They could have done a number of things: First, they could have launched a petition for the revocation of the patent and started a claim for a declaration of non-infringement. Or, since there are certain difficulties with the latter (for example onus of proof goes the other way round), they could simply have said to the patentees, “We intend (w [...]


On 18 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published a landmark judgment in Case C-364/13 International Stem Cell Corporation v. Comptroller General of Patents, in which it gave the following reply to a question referred by the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (Patents Court), of England and Wales regarding the meaning of “human embryos” in article 6(2) (c) of Directive 98/44/EC: 

Article 6(2)(c) of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions must be interpreted as meaning that an unfertilised human ovum whose division and further development have been stimulated [...]

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