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Barcelona Court of Appeal publishes most surprising Judgment on pharmaceutical patents, the role of the CJEU, and Art. 70.7 of TRIPS

1. Introduction:

Over the last decade, in some of the countries that did not introduce patent protection for pharmaceutical products until 1992, there has been an intense debate which has included, inter alia, the following two questions: (i) whether or not under Articles 70.2 and 27.1 of TRIPS, a patent granted following an application claiming the invention both of the process of manufacture of a pharmaceutical product and of the pharmaceutical product as such, but granted solely in relation to the process of manufacture, does, by reason of the rules set out in Articles 27 and 70 of TRIPS, have to be regarded from the entry into force of that Agreement as covering the invention of that pha [...]

Gemalto’s UK appeal dismissed

by Naomi Hazenberg and Brian Cordery

On Wednesday 22 October 2014, the Court of Appeal (Ref [2014] EWCA Civ 1335) has upheld Birss J’s decision last year in HTC v Gemalto (Ref [2013] EWHC 1876 (Pat)) but has found that he erred on a point of construction. The appeal concerned just one of the patents considered at first instance (EP (UK) 0932865) which relates to using higher level programming with a microcontroller. Only claim 3 (and its dependent claims) survived the attack on validity at first instance and HTC’s devices were held not to infringe.

At first instance, the judge needed to construe the term “microcontroller”. As it was not an expression used in ordinary English, expe [...]

Public Prior Use of a Pharmaceutical Preparation (T 2458/09)

Although more than 20 years have passed since the Enlarged Board of Appeal issued its decision G 1/92, there is still little case law which provides guidance on how to establish the structure and properties of a particular medicament in a manner so as to be able to rely on the same as a piece of prior art in opposition proceedings.

In G 1/92, the Enlarged Board rejected the notion of T 93/89 that the ingredients of a commercially available product are not made available to the public unless there is reason for experts to investigate its composition by chemical analysis, and it held that the chemical composition of a product is state of the art when the product as such is available to the pub [...]

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 versio [...]

Not accepting an undertaking entails an intention to market the allegedly infringing product

On 12 September 2014, the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) handed down a decision confirming a preliminary injunction preventing a Spanish company from marketing capsules claimed to be compatible with what is known as the Nespresso® system, which raises a handful of interesting legal points.

The first point of interest discussed was whether or not the appeal proceedings against the first instance decision which had ordered a preliminary injunction should be discontinued after the Court of First Instance (Barcelona Commercial Court number 5) handed down a judgment on the merits, upholding the infringement complaint.  After the judgment in the main proceedings came out, the complainant [...]

Is the Federal Patent Court obliged to appoint a technical expert?

by Bernward Zollner

In a recent decision of the Federal Supreme Court dated 26 August 2014 (docket-No. X ZB 19/12) a further appeal of an applicant pursuing his patent application was rejected. Already the German Patent and Trademark Office had rejected the patent application. The Appeal of the applicant against this decision had been rejected by the Federal Patent Court. Against this decision the applicant submitted a further appeal to the Federal Supreme Court arguing that the Federal Patent Court should have appointed a technical expert. The Federal Supreme Court has rejected this further appeal.

In the reasoning it is pointed out that the Technical Senate of the Federal Patent Court does [...]

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