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

Saturday 27 October 2018

C-527/17 ruling is out: No SPCs for CE-marked devices

The CJEU handed down its ruling on C-527/17 (Boston Scientific)- available here.  It decided:
Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 469/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products must be interpreted as meaning that a prior authorisation procedure, under Council Directive 93/42/EEC of 14 June 1993 concerning medical devices, as amended by Directive 2007/47/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007, for a device incorporating as an integral part a substance, within the meaning of Article 1(4) of that directive as amended, cannot be treated in the same way, for the purposes of applying that regulation, as a marketing authorisation procedure for that substance under Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use, as amended by Directive 2004/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004, even if that substance was the subject of the assessment provided for in the first and second paragraphs of section 7.4 of Annex I to Directive 93/42, as amended by Directive 2007/47.
In essence, the CJEU has ruled that a CE-mark approval for a medical device comprising an active ingredient as an integral part cannot be considered as an approval in accordance with the Medicinal Products Directive, even if the ingredient was assessed using the consultation process.

Many thanks to Oswin Ridderbusch and Alexa von Uexkuell (Vossius & Partner) for spotting the ruling!

Thursday 18 October 2018

France - Court of Appeal of Paris refers questions to the CJEU

Thomas Bouvet and Laura Romestant (Jones Day) kindly report below on a recent decision (here, in French only) of the Court of Appeal of Paris to refer questions to the CJEU:
On 9 October 2018, the Court of Appeal of Paris issued a decision which refers two questions to the CJEU intended to clarify the terms “different application” and “falling within the scope of protection conferred by the basic patent” as addressed in the CJEU Neurim decision. 
Santen is the holder of:
  • European patent № 1 809 237, entitled “Ophthalmic oil-in-water type emulsion with stable positive zeta potential”, filed on 10 October 2005 and granted on 31 December 2008;
  • a central marketing authorization № EU/1/15/990 valid in the entire European Union, granted on 19 March 2015 and notified on 23 March 2015, for the medicinal product with the proprietary name Ikervis, whose active ingredient is ciclosporin in the formulation, covered by EP 1 809 237, indicated for the treatment of severe keratitis in adult patients with dry eye disease, for which ciclosporin has not been approved before.
By a decision dated 6 October 2017, the Director General of the INPI dismissed the application to grant an SPC for ciclosporin eye drop emulsion, filed by Santen on 3 June 2015. 
The Director of the INPI considered that the marketing authorization, on which the application is based, would not be the first authorization to place the product on the market as a medicinal product:
  • it considered that the sole active ingredient of the specialty object of MA № EU/1/15/990 for “ciclosporin for use in the treatment of keratitis” is ciclosporin which should be considered as the product object of the requested SPC, within the meaning of Article 1(b);
  • it considered that the previous MA for ciclosporin had been granted on 23 December 1983 for the medicinal product Sandimmun;
  • it considered that CJEU Neurim decision C-130/11 would not apply in the circumstances of the case because:
- the application for which Ikervis is authorized is not a different application from that of Sandimmun as both relate to inflammatory diseases of the eye;
- the basic patent does not protect a new application of ciclosporin, but a new formulation containing no specific use limitation.
Santen lodged an appeal against this decision by declaration of 3 November 2017.
In its written submissions filed before the Court of Appeal of Paris, Santen requested:
  • as a main request, that the Court of Appeal hold the decision of the Director General of the INPI null, as it is contrary to the case law of the CJEU as set out in the Neurim judgment of 19 July 2012 as well as to the case law of the Court of appeal itself as it is set out in the Merck & Co decision of 15 February 2013;
  • as an auxiliary request, that the Court of Appeal refer a question for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU, in the terms set out in its written submissions before the Court.
The decision of the Court of Appeal of Paris of 9 October 2018
The decision of the Court of Appeal (here) refers two questions to the CJEU, which read in working translation as follows: 
“1 - Should the notion of different application within the meaning of the CJEU Neurim decision of 19 July 2012, C-130/11, be strictly understood, i.e.:
- be limited to the case of a human application following a veterinary application,
- or concern an indication in a new therapeutic field, in the sense of a new medical specialty, compared to the previous MA, or a drug in which the active principle exerts an action different from that which it exerts in the drug that was the subject of the first MA;
- or more generally, in the light of the objectives of Regulation (EC) No 469/2009 aiming at establishing a balanced system taking into account all the interests at stake, including those of public health, be assessed according to more stringent criteria than those used for the assessment of the patentability of the invention;
or, on the contrary, should it be understood in an extensive way, i.e. including not only different therapeutic indications and diseases, but also different formulations, dosages and/or modes of administration?
2 - Does the notion of application falling within the scope of protection conferred by the basic patent within the meaning of the CJEU Neurim decision of 19 July 2012, C-130/11, imply that the scope of the basic patent should be consistent with that of the MA invoked and, therefore, limit itself to the new medical use corresponding to the therapeutic indication of said MA?” 
The Court of Appeal found it necessary to ask two questions resulting from the Neurim decision:
- the first one is intended to clarify the meaning of the term “different application” within the meaning of the CJEU Neurim decision of 19 July 2012, C-130/11;
- the second one intended to clarify to what extent the basic patent should cover said different application, in particular whether it should be limited to the new medical use.
Thomas Bouvet and Laura Romestant  represented Santen.