In a decision of 7 September 2010, the Dutch Patent Office (NL Octrooicentrum) on appeal confirmed its earlier decision to not grant a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) for the medicinal product tocilizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the human interleukin-6 receptor, which is approved as a human rheumatoid arthritis drug. The applicant had requested an…

The torrent of UK cases concerning applications for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) shows no sign of abating. Following the reference from the Court of Appeal in June to the CJEU in Medeva’s SPC Applications regarding the scope of the SPC Regulation (see previous post), the issue of SPCs for combination products has arisen again in…

The European Court of Justice held that Article 9 of the Biotech Directive (98/44/EC) does not confer patent protection to genetic information that does not (anymore) perform its function for which it is patented (in the case at hand the DNA present in soy meal). In addition, the Court held that Article 9 Directive provides…

Council Regulation 469/2009 (the “SPC Regulation”) governs the grant of supplementary protection certificates in the EU. Core to its interpretation are Articles 1, 3, 4 and 5. Most pertinently, Article 3 provides that an SPC shall be granted if, among other things and in the relevant member state, (a) the product is protected by a…

Schütz owned two patents relating to the field of intermediate bulk containers or ‘IBCs’, which are large plastic bottles contained in cages and used to transport hazardous liquids. Schütz objected to Werit’s sales of bottles to a company called Delta since Delta incorporated Werit’s bottles into Schütz’s second hand cages. The key question in the…

According to the Advocate General Article 9 of the Biotechnology Directive does not limit the scope of protection of patents for biotechnology inventions. Nonetheless protection for DNA sequences as such is excluded.

In its decision rendered on 19 March 2008 the District Court of The Hague referred questions to the European Court of Justice on the interpretation of article 9 of Directive 98/44/EC 0f the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions (“Biotechnology Directive”). In particular the Dutch court wished to know whether article 9 of the Biotechnology Directive should be interpreted as extending the rights conferred by a patent covering a biotechnological invention, or, on the contrary, whether it should be interpreted to limit the proprietor’s right to prevent the exploitation of material containing the patented product (DNA sequence), on the condition that such product still performs its function. The Advocate General in his opinion comes to the conclusion that it is irrefutable that article 9 of the Biotechnology Directive is a rule for the extension of patent protection. However, in his opinion the system put in place by the Biotechnology Directive excludes protection for DNA sequences as such. Such protection is limited “to the situations in which the genetic information is currently performing the functions described in the patent.” But how does this relate to the obligations under the European Patent Convention (EPC)?

This case relates to the opposition against Amazon’s famous ‘one-click’ patent. The Board ruled that what is required for obtaining patent protection for a software-implemented business method is that the software should contribute to a technical effect which goes beyond the mere implementation of the business method itself. The Board held that although computer-implemented business…

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.

As the Supreme Court had held for European Patents (SC 6 March 2009 Boston Scientific/Medinol), the Court of Appeal now affirms that the so-called Spiro/Flamco doctrine, which set strict requirements for partial nullification/maintenance of a patent, is also no longer applicable to Dutch patents since EPC 2000 came into force. The patent holder has the…