Advocate General Francis Jacobs has now given his opinion in Case C-31/03 Pharmacia Italia SpA, a reference for an preliminary ruling on supplementary protection certificates (SPCs).
SPCs extend the life of medicinal and agrichemical patents which must undergo lengthy field tests before they can be allowed on to the market. The German Bundesgerichshof had asked essentially whether the grant of a supplementary protection certificate in Germany for a medicinal product for human use, which was protected by a patent when the Regulation entered into force, was precluded in circumstances where a marketing authorisation had been granted before 1 January 1988 for the same (patent-protected) product as a veterinary medicinal product but not as a medicinal product for human use.
In his opinion the Advocate General advises the European Court of Justice to rule that:
"References in Council Regulation 1768/92 concerning the creation of an SPC for medicinal products to the first authorisation to place a product on the market in the Community are to the first authorisation to place that product on the market, whether as a veterinary medicinal product or as a medicinal product for human use".
The IPKat, ever egalitarian, is thrilled that veterinary and human medicament patents are accorded equal treatment in this regard, despite the failure (so far) of the European courts to extend human rights to cover animals.
Thursday, 29 April 2004
Posted by Jeremy and Ilanah at 4:11:00 p.m.