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 4 February 2019

No more launch at risk in France?

Recently, the Paris High Court decided for a preliminary injunction against the commercialization of Darunavir by Sandoz.  A copy of the decision is available here.  Matthieu Dhenne from Dhenne Avocat has kindly provided the below summary for the case. 
A recent decision of the Paris High Court (January 11, 2019) decided preliminary injunctions against the Darunavir commercialization by Sandoz (Prezista generic). The SPC was found to be presumably valid and thus infringed by Sandoz.  
The question was: how should we applied article 3(a) SPC Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 469/2009)?  We must beforehand recall that the CJEU has never ruled on how article 3(a) should be applied with respect to a Markush claim. Thus, should darunavir be considered as being “specified in the wording of the claims” (Medeva)? Or should we hold that the claim “relates, implicitly but necessarily and specifically“ to darunavir (Eli Lilly)? But maybe those questions are irrelevant since the claim is not a functional one? 
Firstly, the Paris High Court analyzed the CJEU case law about SPC and concluded that the Eli Lilly test was not applicable to a Markush claim:
“It should be noticed that, in Eli Lilly, the case concerned a functional claim, so that the CJEU insisted on a double condition of necessity and specificity. In the present case, the claims of the basic patent are structural and better allow the skilled person to determine in view of the claims whether the active compound protected by the SPC was covered by the basic patent.” 
Secondly, following the examination of the formula of claim 1 of the patent and the various meanings of the variable groups in this claim and some of the dependent claims, the Judge concluded that: 
“Thus darunavir is identified by the skilled person as being implicitly but necessarily and specifically protected by the EP’209 patent in view of the substituents identified in the claims, in keeping with the requirements of article 3(a) of the EC Regulation and of the CJEU case law.” 
Therefore, the judge considered that the defendant did not prove that the SPC was manifestly invalid. Accordingly, a preliminary injunction was ordered, under a 50,000 euro-penalty per violation of the injunction. The judge also ordered a seizure of the infringing drugs, as well as a product recall. 
The recent French case law (and the reform of nullity actions limitation period with PACTE Law?) send a clear sign to the drug manufacturers: launch at risk should now be avoided in France.
Thank you Matthieu!

No comments: