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

Monday, 8 September 2014

Merck-y ruling has a silver lining ...

The SPC Blog has received a note from our friend and occasional correspondent Mike Snodin which informs us that the firm that he founded in July 2014, Park Grove IP, now has a fully functional website. Blog readers may wish to know that this website contains, among other things, a copy of the most recent of Mike’s publications (an article entitled “Every cloud has a silver lining: Portugal's loss may be the UK's gain”, which was published by Scrip Regulatory Affairs in June 2014). A copy of that article can be viewed by clicking here.

In this article, Mike discusses the decision of the CJEU in Case C-555/13 Merck Canada. While acknowledging the effect that the ruling has in curtailing the term of Portuguese SPCs based upon certain "old law" patents, he argues that the ruling ought to also provide some beneficial side-effects, in the form of:
(a) increased harmonisation of SPC expiry dates across the EU and
(b) an additional day's term for some SPCs in certain countries (such as the UK).
The SPCs that may be affected are those for which less than 10 years have elapsed between the filing date of patent upon which the SPC is based and the date of the first authorisation in the European Economic Area for the “product” defined in respect of the SPC.

In the Genzyme case that Mike argued before the UK IPO in 2013 (BL O/418/13), the Hearing Officer declined a request (based upon the provisions of the Euratom treaty) to award an additional day’s term to just such an SPC. However, Mike is of the view that the ruling in C-555/13 would appear to undermine the Hearing Officer’s reasons for refusing that request. Therefore, Mike’s Euratom argument may yet rise again!

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