As readers well know, over the years many patent offices around the world have opened the door to the patentability of so-called “second medical uses” to foster research on possible solutions to unmet medical needs based on the use of already known compounds. Although the most developed patent offices such as the European Patent Office (“EPO”) and the United States Patent Office (“USPO”) have a relatively long history of accepting these types of claims, their effective protection may be distorted by existing regulatory regimes. For example, in countries where electronic-prescribing (“e-prescribing”) software cause an active principle to be prescribed for all possible uses regardless of the f [...]
As the readers well know, the European Patent Convention (“EPC”) system allows the validity of European patents to be challenged through two different routes: (i) oppositions filed before the European Patent Office (“EPO”); and (ii) revocation actions filed before national Courts. This system, which has its advantages, has disadvantages as well. For example, it may result in a waste of the time, money and other resources invested into litigating before a national Court if, when the proceedings before the national Court are at an advanced stage, the train that is running in parallel before the EPO leads the patent to the revocation station.
In countries where Judges have discretion to decide [...]
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 [...]
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 extra [...]
On 17 July 2014, Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón issued his opinion in Case C-364/13 International Stem Cell Corporation v. Comptroller General of Patents, whereby he proposed that the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) give the following response 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: “Unfertilised human ova whose division and further development have been stimulated by parthenogenesis are not included in the term “human embryos” in article 6(2) (c) of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 [...]
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 [...]