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

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Memantine in Belgium

From Steven Catoor (Hoyng Monegier, Brussels) comes news of the decision of the judgment of the Brussels Commercial Court of 11 January 2011 on the Belgian SPC for memantine (Synthon v Merz). The judgment is in Dutch but Steven hopes to provide us with an unofficial English translation shortly.  Says Steven:
"The Court essentially (and quite logically) decided to await the outcome of the pending referral to the CJEU by the Mr Justice Floyd in the corresponding UK action (previously reported on the SPC Blog here and here). As to the basic patent invalidity claim raised by Synthon at the very last minute, the Court refers this issue to the general docket and leaves it up to the parties to arrange for a timetable to exchange submissions on the subject.

Nevertheless, there are a few interesting passages in the judgment.

In particular, the Commercial Court refers to the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal in Almirall (see the SPC Blog here), a decision which was invoked by Synthon to argue that the duration of the memantine SPC should be 0 years under Article 13 of the SPC Regulation. Not only does the Court identify a series of factual circumstances which distinguish the current case from Almirall, but it also questions whether the reasoning of the Court of Appeal is in line with the Hässle and Pharmacia Italia judgments of the ECJ.

In addition, the Court opines that the ECJ’s Novartis judgment is of very little relevance in the current case given that this case concerned the interpretation of the EEA Agreement rather than the SPC Regulation".
I hope this is useful to you.

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