One of the drawbacks of a fragmented patent litigation system in Europe is the existence of contradictory judgments on exactly the same question from Courts of different European countries. The most recent example of this anomaly can be found in the different conclusions reached by a Spanish Court and, a few weeks later, by an…

As readers know well, AgrEvo (T 939/92) is a landmark case in the history of European patent law. In this case, an EPO’s Board of Appeal found the patent to meet the “sufficiency” requirement because all the compounds could be made. On the contrary, it found the patent to lack inventive step. The reason was…

When the Kingdom of Spain joined what were then called the European Communities (the “EC”) in 1986, it had to approve a new Patents Act which sought to adapt Spain’s patent law to the standards required by the EC. For example, for the purpose of avoiding that an infringer could invoke a “cover” patent or…

During the past decade, Spanish courts have debated the impact of the TRIPS Agreement (“TRIPS”) on patents the applications of which were filed before 7 October 1992, that is, before Spain’s Reservation under Article 167 of the European Patent Convention (“EPC”) expired. According to this Reservation, European patents would not have any effects in Spain,…

On 24 November 2016, the Court of Appeal of Barcelona (Section 15) handed down a judgment in which it confirmed that “the interpretation of the scope of protection of a patent for the purposes of analysing its validity cannot be different from when its infringement is analysed”. The Judges also highlighted the relevance of the…

For the first time, the Spanish Supreme Court made far-reaching observations on key issues of the assessment of inventive step and, in particular, on a) the reformulation of the “objective technical problem” as defined in the patent’s specification, b) the limits to the combination of prior art documents and c) the professional qualifications required for…

For many years, Spanish Courts have considered the “problem & solution approach” developed by the European Patent Office (“EPO”) to be a very useful tool for the purpose of trying to make an objective assessment of inventive activity. Unlike in other jurisdictions such as Germany, in Spain this method has become the natural instrument used…

A judgment of 13 July 2017 from the Spanish Supreme Court (Civil Chamber) has highlighted the importance of taking the fine pencil when examining novelty. The decision stemmed from a judgment of 12 September 2014 from the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), which had declared patent ES 2.344.241 invalid due to lack of novelty….

For the first time, the Spanish Supreme Court made far-reaching observations on key issues of the assessment of inventive step and, in particular, on a) the reformulation of the “objective technical problem” as defined in the patent’s specification, b) the limits to the combination of prior art documents and c) the professional qualifications required for…

When analysing inventive activity, one risk that appears to be here to stay is that of hindsight. As Richard Ebbink very aptly put it in a workshop held at the INGRES Institute in Zurich on 8 and 9 September 2017 in honour of Dr. Dieter Brändle – the first President of the Swiss Federal Patent…