A niche blog dedicated to the issues that arise when supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) extend patents beyond their normal life -- and to the respective positions of patent owners, investors, competitors and consumers. The blog also addresses wider issues that may be of interest or use to those involved in the extension of patent rights. You can email The SPC Blog here
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
By an order of 8 October 2010 (here) the Court of Appeal seeks further guidance relating to Article 3(a) of Regulation 469/2009. It seeks to ask, in particular:
"If the criteria for deciding whether a product is 'protected by a basic patent in force' under Article 3(a) ... include or consist of an assessment of whether the supply of the product would infringe the basic patent, does it make any difference to the analysis if infringement is by way of indirect or contributory infringement based on Article 26 of the Community Patent Convention, enacted as s.60(2) Patents Act 1077 in the UK, and the corresponding provisions in the laws of other Member States of the Community?"We've not yet had time to read the order in full (it runs to 17 pages) but will post further on this reference if it seems appropriate to do so.
Friday, 22 October 2010
"In the EU, the term of a national patent or a European patent for drug products is extended through the grant of a supplementary protection certificate. This is governed by Council Regulation (EC) No 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products.This piece features two useful figures, one being an example of a project lifecycle curve viewed from a cash flow perspective, the other being a graphic representation of the active ingredients/substances in the Medeva proceedings as they relate to the basic patent. marketing authorisations and SPC products.
Monday, 18 October 2010
|Let's all be pen-friends |
with the European Commission
The background is as follows: since the consolidated text of Regulation 469/2009 of 6 May 2009 concerning the creation of a supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products (codified version, replacing Council Regulation 1768/92 of 18 June 1992) still includes the now obsolete definition of "medicinal product" and requires amendment incorporating the new definition, Dr von Morzé wrote to the Commission as follows:
"The above-identified consolidated Regulation at least in the version available to me which was published in OJEU 16.6.2009 L152/1-L 152/10 requires revision of the definition of ‘medicinal product’ in Art. 1(a). The new definition of ‘medicinal product’ in Art. 1(2) of Directive 2001/83/EC as amended by Directive 2004/27/EC published 28.11.2004 in OJ L-311, pages 67-128 reads as follows:for the European Commission (DG Internal Market and Services), Oliver Vahhelyi has responded as follows:
‘2. Medicinal product:
(a) Any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings; or
(b) Any substance or combination of substances which may be used in or administered to human beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis.’
As to the significance of the new definition please refer to Recital 7 of Directive 2004/27/EC.
Article 1(a) of Regulation (EC) No. 469/2004 still recites the previous, somewhat vague definition of ‘medicinal product’ which has been superseded by the new definition clarifying which actions exerted by the active substances of a medicinal product would be ‘restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions’ (see the clause in bold above) .
The Hecht-Pharma GmbH judgment of the European Court of Justice C-140/07 of 15 January 2009 succinctly explains the significance of the expansion and the clarification achieved by the new definition:
‘33 As is apparent from recital 7 in the preamble thereto, the purpose of the amendments made by Directive 2004/27 to the definition of a medicinal product is to take account of the emergence of new therapies and of the growing number of so-called ‘borderline’ products. Also, in order to avoid doubts as to the applicable rules, the definition was made more precise and now specifies the type of action – pharmacological, immunological or metabolic – which a medicinal product must exert with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying human physiological functions.’
It must be assumed that the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 469/2009/EC are set out to apply to all medicinal products within the ambit of the new definition. Regulatory concepts are not only key factors for administering and interpreting the Regulation but also must be incorporated in the codified Regulation in the version applicable as of the date of its codification to avoid uncertainty, improper limitations of its scope and unnecessary litigation.
I would be most grateful for your comments and would like to know which action would be taken to revise the definition".
"Regulation (EC) 469/2009 indeed still uses the definition of medicinal products of Directive (EC) 2001/83 prior to the amendments made in 2004 by Directive (EC) 2004/27 of 31 March 2004."When the most suitable opportunity arises" is anyone's guess. Readers' suggestions as to when we might see this amendment are welcomed.
We will consider introducing the definition of medicinal products of Directive (EC) 2001/83 as amended into Regulation (EC) 469/2009 when the most suitable opportunity arises to make such a technical adjustment.
I hope this information is useful to you".
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
"... Despite the intent of Congress to compensate applicants for delays in prosecution in an industry-independent manner, applicants seeking reconsideration of a patent term adjustment in Federal District Court are highly-biased toward institutions seeking patents on pharmaceutical and related biotechnology inventions. Unlike patent term extensions, which are sought in a six-month period prior to regulatory approval and sale of a pharmaceutical product, and often long after a patent has issued claiming the product, court cases identifying patents needing longer PTAs provide early notice to the public, including investors and competitors, of technologies considered to have particular value to the applicant. ...".
Monday, 11 October 2010
Details of the conference programme will be available in due course.
Monday, 4 October 2010
You can read the current version of the SPC section here. A line in the left-hand margin highlights text which you won't find in the earlier January 2010 version.
Friday, 1 October 2010
Just in case you're not immune to issues around SPCs for HPV vaccines, here's the latest juicy case (BL O/335/10) that was decided before the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO):
The University of Queensland and CSL Limited filed 8 SPC applications at the IPO: 6 different applications to single Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) L1 protein virus-like particles (VLPs) (2 applications for HPV 16, 2 applications for HPV 18, 1 application for HPV11 and 1 application for HPV6), 1 application for a product comprising HPV16 and HPV18 L1 protein LPV, and 1 application for a product comprising HPV6, HPV11, HPV16 and HPV18 L1 protein LPVs. The applications were based on basic patents EP 0595935, EP 1298211 and EP 1359156. The marketing authorisations for Cervarix and Gardasil/Silgard were used to support the applications.
The issues raised here are similar to those in the Medeva and Georgetown et al. cases and concern the interpretation of Articles 3(a) and 3(b) of the Regulation. The IPO therefore proposed to defer further consideration of the applications until the outcome of the references to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in relation to the Medeva and Georgetown cases. The applicant however requested a decision to be issued based on the papers on file so that, if the IPO were to refuse the applications, the decision could be appealed and a further referral to the CJEU could be made and considered at the same time as the other HPV-related cases.
The hearing officer, Dr. L. Cullen, found that the 6 SPC applications directed to single HPV L1 protein VLPs did not meet the requirement of Article 3(b) of the Regulation because neither of the MAs cited was a valid authorisation to place any of the single HPV L1 protein VLP products on the market as a medicinal product. Each MA related to a combination of active ingredients rather than a single active ingredient.
Moreover, the HPV combination applications did not meet the requirement of Article 3(a) of the Regulation because the basic patents did not protect combination HPV L1 protein VLP products, but only related a method for preparing single HPV L1 protein VLPs, HPV L1 protein VLPs made by this method and vaccines prepared from HPV L1 protein VLPs made by this method. Nothing in the patents suggested that the single HPV products could be used in combination with each other.
The applications were rejected in accordance with Article 10(4) after the application was provided with an opportunity to correct the irregularities of the application.
The complete decision is available here.