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Herceptin Round 2: Hospira enjoys the sweet smell of success once more

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 [...]

Proprietor’s Plea of Ply Patent Prevails (or: The Problem with the Problem, Part II)

by Anne Katrin Schön

On 12 June of this year, the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) in Karlsruhe concluded nullity appeal proceedings (X ZR 96/11) against the German part of European patent EP 1 071 556 B1 by dismissing the nullity action and upholding the patent as granted. Overruling the first-instance judgment 1 Ni 19/09 of the Federal Patent Court (FPC), with which the patent had been declared null and void in its entirety, the FCJ confirmed principles of established case law both regarding novelty and inventive step. Prior to the German nullity proceedings, the European Patent Office (EPO) had rejected an opposition against the patent. A comparison between the EPO, FPC and FCJ deci [...]

Obvious to try attacks remain topical even if they take a different path

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 [...]

“Self-adhesive tape” – You better limit your Swiss patents in good time

The juxtapositon of patent limitations in national nullity proceedings and before national patent offices on the one hand and according to article 105a EPC on the other hand is a hotly debated issue not only in Switzerland.

In a recently published decision of 2 June 2014 (4A_541/2013), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had to decide – inter alia – whether the limitation of the European Patent 1 508 436 according to article 105a EPC which only took place after the revocation of the Swiss portion of the patent by the Federal Patent Court must still be taken into account.

In brief, claimant requested the nullity of EP 1 508 436 before the Swiss Federal Patent Court.

The patent relates [...]

What happened to/in Summer 2014 in the Netherlands?

Before diving into this year’s Oktoberfest with the Munich IP community, colleague contributor Thorsten Bausch summarized the German Federal Court of Justice’s case law of Summer 2014. As the days of raising beer mugs and polka dancing come to an end in Munich, so does the Dutch Summer (finally). Time for an overview of what occupied the Dutch Courts these past months.

As in Germany, the doctrine of equivalence was considered by the Hague District Court. In the MBI/Shimano case the District Court applied the Dutch Supreme Court’s Medinol/Abbott findings on equivalence of a few months earlier (on stent litigation which meandered through Europe for years).

In Medinol/Abbott the Supreme C [...]

Step by Step towards Inventive Step – Determining the Closest Prior Art comes first (R 5/13 et al.)

In the oral proceedings held in the EPO appeal case T 1760/11 the Board of Appeal (BoA) 3.3.01 selected one single closest prior art (CPA) document for the inventive step assessment and then denied the opponents the opportunity to present inventive step attacks starting from other CPAs. Petitions for review under Article 112a EPC were filed. The BoA’s denial did not constitute a violation of the right to be heard, said the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) in the decisions R 5/13 and (identical) R 9/13 to R13/13.

The underlying Case of T 1760/11

The issue under discussion was the assessment of inventive step. The Opposition Division had earlier revoked the patent inter alia for lack of inventiv [...]

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