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

Friday 14 August 2009

IPI initiative on paediatric inconsistencies links patent offices

For what may well be the first time in its history, the lead article in the August Newsletter of the Intellectual Property Institute (IPI), London is about SPCs -- and indeed about the particularly live issue of paediatric extensions. The text runs as follows:
"Paediatric Extensions to Supplementary Protection Certificates

The Institute has been in discussion with a number of stakeholders about present legal uncertainties surrounding applications for the 6-month paediatric extension to a supplementary protection certificate. In order to express concerns that have been expressed about the implementation of the scheme for the examination of applications for paediatric extensions, the Institute convened a meeting at the European Patent Office in The Hague. Delegates included representatives from patent offices all over Europe, officials from the regulatory agencies, and industry (the users).

Genevieve Michaux, a regulatory expert from Covington and Burling LLP, set the scene by outlining the current, rather complex provisions, and there followed an extensive round table discussion among the delegates under the Chatham House rule.

A full report of the meeting will be issued at a later date, but one key issue arising from the meeting was the fact that there were differing views among the national patent offices concerning the documents to be submitted upon filing an application for an extension. It was argued that the end of procedure notification should sufficiently demonstrate the approval of a paediatric product in all Member States. However, the notification is not currently set out in a standard form and it may not include some of the information needed by the national patent offices: it was clear that it would be very useful to develop a common format for this document. This was just one of a number of issues discussed at the meeting which we will be following up in due course".
The IPI should be commended for taking this initiative. It is a small organisation with few resources, yet it selflessly takes on tasks for the benefit of the wider community. Readers whose companies would like to participate in or otherwise support the work of the IPI, which has charitable status, should email its Director, Dr Paul Leonard, here or telephone him on +44 20 7436 3040.

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