8th Feb 2021
Just over one month into the “real Brexit” we have already seen two very high profile consequences of its impact on the pharmaceutical industry.Firstly, the UK’s medicine agency (the MHRA) approved the BioNTech/Pfizer and Oxford University/Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines faster than the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Then, at the end of January, the European Commission threatened to prevent Covid-19 vaccines passing into Northern Ireland from Ireland. I am certainly not going to explore the potential political ramifications of this (swiftly withdrawn) threat of the EU Commission – twitter commentators have had their say on that – but I am interested in whether this unique situation on the island of Ireland could have future consequences for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) in the UK and Europe.
5th Aug 2020
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has announced several temporary fee changes in relation to patents, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), trade marks and registered designs. In an effort to support applicants and proprietors facing disruption due to COVID-19, the temporary fee changes waive or significantly reduce certain late payment fees, fees for obtaining extensions, and fees for reinstating or restoring lost rights. The following temporary fee changes will apply between 30 July 2020 and 31 March 2021:
24th Jun 2020
Because of the disruption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, since 24 March 2020 the UK IPO has treated every day as an “interrupted day” as far as deadlines are concerned. This applies to UK applications and registrations for: patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs. It also applies to deadlines in proceedings relating to these rights, such as oppositions and invalidity actions.
14th Feb 2020
Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) are European sui generis rights which provide a form of patent term extension available in Europe for medicinal products or plant protection products. The period of effective patent protection for medicinal products and plant protection products can be significantly less than in other sectors because of the need to obtain a marketing authorisation (MA). Obtaining an MA can take a significant amount of time (typically around 12 years), which can be a large portion of the lifetime of a patent (20 years from its filing date). SPCs are national rights available in individual EU countries (and European Economic Area (EEA) countries: Switzerland and Norway) which are governed by EU regulations. They will also continue to be available in the UK following its exit from the EU. The SPC sphere is a fascinating and extremely active area of intellectual property law. There is a steady stream of decisions from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) attempting to clarify the SPC Regulations, and there are a number of issues outstanding. This brief guide attempts to give a sense of the current state of play.
23rd Jan 2020
On Wednesday 15th January 2020, US president Donald Trump and Chinese vice-premier Liu He signed an economic and trade agreement which Mr Trump described as “the biggest deal anybody has even seen”. The deal promises to be the first phase of a larger new trade agreement between the US and China, signifying a de-escalation in their trade war – at least for now. Intellectual property (IP) was one of the main points of contention during the trade talks and thus it is perhaps unsurprising that IP matters are addressed in the first chapter. Of particular interest to those in the pharmaceutical sector will be Sections C and D of Chapter 1, which outline China’s commitment to improving protection and enforcement of pharmaceutical related patent rights. Sceptics will argue that these provisions simply represent a long overdue pledge by China to align its patent system with the US and other Western states, with no guarantee that they will actually implement or enforce the provisions of the agreement. However, in my view the deal appears to represent China’s willingness to do more to protect pharmaceutical patent rights and contains provisions that (if properly implemented and enforced) could significantly increase the value of drug related patents in China.
1st Jul 2019
Robin Ellis in our Munich office discusses some of the highlights of the newly introduced SPC manufacturing waiver.