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

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Seattle Genetics and an alternative question -- but will the CJEU answer it?

The SPC Blog has received further news from our friend Mike Snodin (Park Grove IP) that he has published another article in Scrip Regulatory Affairs. This latest article, entitled “Supplementary Protection Certificates: the Court of Justice of the EU will have its day after all” (a copy of which can be obtained here), relates to the questions referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case C-471/14 Seattle Genetics [on which see earlier SPC Blogpost here].

As regular readers of this blog will know, the questions referred by the Oberlandesgericht Wien in Seattle Genetics relate to the issue of whether longer term should be awarded to certain SPCs by relying upon the date of notification of a “centralised” Marketing Authorisation instead of the (earlier) date of the European Commission’s decision to issue the Authorisation.

Mike’s article discusses and analyses the questions referred to the CJEU and highlights potential problems with regard to the framing of those questions. In an attempt to clear away any confusion that could be caused by the manner in which the questions referred have been framed, Mike presents an alternative question that is more precisely adapted to the facts underlying Seattle Genetics. He concludes by expressing the hope that the CJEU decides to answer such an alternative question, and by outlining reasons why, in his view, that alternative question should be answered in favour of using the date of notification for “centralised” MAs.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Compliance with Article 3(a): will Eli Lilly help? Here's a new article

News has reached us that a regular contributor to this blog -- and one of the speakers at the recent SPC Blog seminar (Mike Snodin, Park Grove IP) -- has published a new article in Scrip Regulatory Affairs. A copy of the article, entitled “Supplementary Protection Certificates: the never-ending saga of Article 3(a)”, which was first published online by Scrip Regulatory Affairs on 1 December 2014, can be viewed via this link.

Mike’s article explains why the ruling of the High Court, England and Wales, of July 2014 in Eli Lilly v HGS may well provide what the SPC community has sought for years, namely a test for compliance with Article 3(a) of Regulation 469/2009 that is not only simple and robust but which is also relatively straightforward to apply in a wide variety of cases.  However he also explains why, in his view, this is unlikely to be the end of the saga relating to Article 3(a). In this respect, Mike’s article discusses two alternative interpretations of Article 3(a) that have been proposed by some commentators and that could muddy the waters for a number of years to come.  While one of those alternative interpretations is perhaps not fundamentally inconsistent with the extent of protection test used by the High Court, Mike’s view is that the same cannot be said for the other -- which is based upon an unusual reading of the CJEU’s ruling in Queensland and which appears to be impossible to reconcile with the conclusions reached by the High Court.  Fortunately, however, Mike also outlines in his article the reasons why he believes that more challenging interpretation must be wrong and why the High Court’s extent of protection test must prevail –- at least for now.