The divergences of solutions which can exist between the various national courts with respect to the various national designations of the same European patent could become a major obstacle to the circulation of the Euro banknotes throughout all Europe. The national designation of European patent EP 0 455 750, the holder of which – Document Security System – claims that it is infringed by the Euro banknotes, is held valid in Germany, Holland and Spain but invalid in Belgium, the UK, Austria and France. The invalidity is affirmed in France by the 17 March 2010 decision of the Cour d’Appel of Paris.
In the beginning of 2010, Merck Sharp & Dohme (hereafter “Merck”) and E.I. Du Pont de Nemours (hereafter “Du Pont”) on the one hand and Mylan on the other hand entailed in a fight concerning the launch of a generic version of Cozaar Plus®. The Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) of Cozaar Plus®, a combination product consisting of losartan and HCTZ, would expire on 15 February 2010, but Merck and Du Pont tried to prevent the marketing of generic versions of Cozaar Plus® by invoking the SPC for Cozaar®, the monoproduct consisting of Losartan only. In Belgium and France, this case led to very diverging judgments on the interpretation of the SPC Regulation.
In the UK, the signal “Another train coming” flashes when there is more than one railway line over an automatic crossing and another train is approaching. If you have avoided the first train, you must pay attention to the other train approaching not to be hit by it. We can take a similar warning from the order handed down on 12 February 2010 by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris: the expiry of a SPC covering a combination of two active ingredients does not allow the exploitation of that combination if another SPC covering only one of those active ingredients is still in force: such exploitation infringes this SPC.
The protected product within the meaning of Article 3 (a) of SPC Regulation (EEC) No. 1768/92 must be a product claimed as such in the basic patent.
This case provides a rather complete example of how to calculate damages in a patent infringement action in France. When the patent owner directly works out his patent in France, damages are based on lost profits and completed by additional royalties if the lost profits are below the amount of total infringing sales. When the…