The July 2003 issue of Sweet & Maxwell's European National Patent Reports has just emerged. Of the three cases it features, one is of particular legal significance: Gen-Probe Inc v Hoffmann-La Roche AG. HLR held a European patent for the amplification of nucleic acids. Seeking to tie the Swiss pharma company's patent in knots, Gen-Probe launched proceedings in Italy against the HLR group of companies for a declaration that its own system for TMA blood tests for chlamydia did not infringe HLR's patent; Gen-Probe also sought the patent's revocation. The big issue was whether a court in Milan, Italy, had jurisdiction to make any ruling of revocation or non-infringement of the bits of the European patent that spilled beyond Italy into Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and The Netherlands.

The Court of Milan, citing the relevant provisions of the European Patent Convention, ruled that since a European patent, once granted, becomes a bundle of national rights, it didn't have jurisdiction to rule in respect of either revocation or non-infringement outside Italy. The court added that there had to be at least the risk of some harm occurring in Italy before a foreign defendant who was not domiciled in Italy and did not trade there could be sued in an Italian court.

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ITALIAN CHLAMYDIA PATENT CASE REPORTED <strong>ITALIAN CHLAMYDIA PATENT CASE REPORTED</strong> Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, August 12, 2003 Rating: 5

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