|Cat's eye does not suffer|
from macular degeneration
The case concerns the validity of Genentech patent EP1238986 and infringement thereof by the Regeneron product VEGF Trap Eye (a treatment for macular degeneration). To remind our dear readers, the main claim was in the following terms:
Use of a hVEGF antagonist in the preparation of a medicament for the treatment of a non-neoplastic disease or disorder characterised by undesirable excessive neovascularisation, wherein the hVEGF antagonist is: (a) an anti-VEGF antibody or antibody fragment; (b) an anti-VEGF receptor antibody or antibody fragment; or (c) an isolated hVEGF receptor.I covered the case in some detail last year, and if readers thought that I was surprised by the outcome, they would not be greatly mistaken. At first instance Mr Justice Floyd found the patent valid (under the headings of novelty, inventive step and sufficiency) although he construed the claim in one respect (the meaning of " a medicament for the treatment of a non-neoplastic disease or disorder characterised by undesirable excessive neovascularisation") in a manner different from that put forward by either the claimants or the defendant, stating:
I see no reason to recast the definition either as sought by Genentech or by the claimants. There was no evidence that anyone skilled in the art would have any difficulty in identifying a disease which is characterised by undesirable, excessive angiogenesis and one which is not. Further, the skilled person would not understand that the patentee was saying that the treatment would necessarily successfully deal with anything other than undesired angiogenesis in that disease.He also found the claims infringed by the Regeneron product.
So what of the appeal decision? The claimant/appellants challenged the first instance judgment under every heading. Kitchin LJ giving the leading judgment, with which Moses LJ and Longmore LJ agreed in the traditional formula, analysed each criticism of the judge's findings, and in each case upheld the first instance judgment.
Whereof there is little further to say, thereof I shall accordingly be silent. Do our dear readers have any comments or thoughts?