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15 years are enough! ECJ decided on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and SPC

by Miriam Büttner

In a recent decision the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) (Order of the Court dated 13 February 2014 – case no C-555/13, Merck Canada Inc. vs. Accord Healthcare Ltd and others).

Background:

Merck Canada Inc. (Merck) lodged an application for a patent for the active ingredient “montelukast sodium” in Portugal on 11 October 1991, which was granted on 2 Octo-ber 1998. The first marketing authorization (MA) for a medicinal product containing that active ingredient within the European Union was obtained in Finland on 25 Au-gust 1997. Merck applied for a SPC with the Port [...]

Patentability of biotechnology inventions: “O time thou must untangle this, not I. It is too hard a knot for me to untie”

Although Brian Cordery will try to have you believe that the title of this blog is borrowed from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it may well have been taken from the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament dated 14 July 2005 on Development and implications of patent law in the field of biotechnology and genetic engineering, where the Commission wrote that:

There is no immediate answer to the question of the patentability of embryonic pluripotent stem cells and indeed at this stage it would appear premature to come to a definitive conclusion. The Commission will continue to monitor developments in this area.”

No additional progress appears to have been made [...]

Punitive damages in Europe? The ECJ will have a word on it!

The newly established 15th Patent Senate of the Appeals Court of Düsseldorf (Presiding Judge Dr. Ulrike Voß) has referred a number of questions concerning the calculation of damages in IP cases to the European Court of Justice. This opens the floor for the ECJ to talk about damages, as far as I know for the first time in IP matters.

In the case which now has been referred to the ECJ plaintiff had already successfully sued defendant for infringement of its plant variety protection right and now tried to collect damages for the past infringement on the basis of a reasonable royalty. In calculating the damages on this basis, plaintiff requested to take into account several factors which he [...]

Chairman Between the Chairs -The Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal R0012/19-

Almost everyday someone posts something about the Unified Patent Court or a seminar is offered about the “newest” developments. In fact nobody is able to predict whether the system will “work”. It is said that in order “to be successful” the system needs to be efficient, speedy and affordable. It is also said that it will largely depend on the qualification and experience of the future UPC judges whether the UPC will be accepted by its “customers”. While this is certainly true to some extent one should keep in mind that it is up to the lawmaker to provide the rules for the proceedings balancing efficiency with justice and -at least evenly important- to provide sufficient fund [...]

The EU Patent Package – Where does Europe stand End of June 2014?

1 Introduction

Reports that say there’s — that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense, 1975-1977 and 2001-2006

According to Article 89 of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), the Agreement is set up to enter into force on one of three dates, whichever is the latest. The first date provided in the Agreement was 1 January 2014. As we all know, it did not h [...]

New Block Exemption Rules for Technology-Transfer Agreements

The European Commission has adopted new competition rules for the assessment of technology-transfer agreements. The revised Block Exemption Regulation for Technology-Transfer Agreements (EU) 316/2014 (“TTBER”), and the accompanying Guidelines (OJ, 2014/C 89/03) entered into force on May 1, 2014.

The general structure and most of the provisions have in substance remained unchanged compared to the previous Regulation TTBER 772/2004 (although the language was streamlined quite a bit). Some changes are, however, highly relevant for licensing practitioners. Some of them tighten the exemption, in particular regarding

- restrictions of passive sales to territories reserved for “new” licen [...]

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