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Important change in Belgian patent litigation: The Belgian Supreme Court adopts a less strict approach to the prima facie validity of a European Patent

 1.         Introduction

Preliminary injunction (“PI”) and seizure proceedings are powerful weapons in the hands of patentees in Belgium. Often, the success of a product launch and the outcome of a patent dispute will in practice be determined by a PI or seizure that prevents or ceases market entry by the alleged infringer. 

In the context of such proceedings, Belgian courts asses the parties’ rights and claims on a prima facie (first sight) basis.  As a result, they have tended to refuse to take patent invalidity arguments into account on the basis that European patents are prima facie valid given the substantive examination by the European Patent Office (“EPO”). In t [...]

AIPPI approves Resolution aimed at helping rescue claims on second medical uses from the Valley of Death

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 [...]

Too natural to be patent-eligible

Tribunal de grande instance de Paris, 3rd chamber, 1st section, 3 July 2014, Evinerude v. Philippe Giraudeau and Aair Lichens

While the US decisions in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories Inc. and Myriad Genetics led the USPTO to issue new guidelines to the attention of examiners on the procedure for subject matter eligibility analysis of claims reciting or involving “interalia” laws of nature and natural products, the tribunal de grande instance de Paris, in a judgment of 3 July 2014, clarifies the exclusion of discoveries from patent-eligible subject matter.

1.        Presentation of the judgment

Philippe Giraudeau is the inventor and the applicant of [...]

Legitimate interest in obtaining a Judgment on infringement from a national Court persists even after patent has been revoked by EPO

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 [...]

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 [...]

If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly

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 [...]

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