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Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Bulgarian milestone as Supreme Court rules on Atripla application

From our friend Dimitar Batakliev (IP Attorney, Bulgaria) comes the following news:
"I would like to report a recent case before the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria regarding an SPC application for Atripla, a drug for treatment of HIV infection.

In a decision of 8 June 2014 the Court held that the claimed product, consisting of efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, was not protected by the basic patent BG 62612 and therefore did not meet the requirements of Article 3 of the SPC Regulation. According to the court, this combination was outside the scope of claim 8 which protected 
“a combination of a compound of Formula I or Formula II according to claim 2 with a nucleoside analog having biological activity against HIV reverse transcriptase”. 
Although efavirenz was found to be a compound of Formula I and emtizitabine -- a nucleoside analogue -- the court held that the claim envisaged only combinations of two active ingredients, while the applied product consisted of three. Further, the court confirmed that the third ingredient, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, was also outside the scope of the claim as it was a nucleotide rather than a nucleoside analogue. Although after its intake it was transformed in the human body into a nucleoside, at the time of composing the claimed product it lacked such characteristics. As a result the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of first instance and instead upheld the decision of the Patent Office to reject the application of Merck Sharp & Dohme Inc.

In its detailed analysis the Supreme Court touched on a number of important topics of the SPC domain. It provided guidance on the methods of interpretation of patent claims, on the applicability of the infringement test and the significance of the Medeva and Eli Lilly decisions. It also commented on decisions of other jurisdictions which had been put forward by the parties in support of their arguments. Therefore, in my opinion the Atripla case resulted in a milestone decision of the Bulgarian case law with respect to the application of the SPC Regulation.
If you can cope with the original Bulgarian text of the judgment, Dimitar has kindly provided a link to it here.


Anonymous said...

It was granted in UK, by the IPO

Anonymous said...

...but that was before Medeva, and Kithcin's judgment in Gilead, in relation to this basic patent, is looking a bit wobbly. He may get a chance to comment if and when Warren's judgment in HGS v Eli Lilly goes to the Court of Appeal in the UK.