Angiotech appeal fails

The IPKat's friend Richard Evans (Informa Law) has pointed out that the appeal brought by Angiotech against a High Court ruling revoking their patent (EP0706376) relating to paclitaxel (Taxol)-coated stents has failed. Lord Justice Jacob, as usual taking the lead in the Court of Appeal on IP matters, has upheld Mr Justice Pumfrey's earlier decision finding Angiotech's patent invalid for being obvious. The decision is available from Bailii here, and the earlier High Court decision here.

According to IP World Online, Angiotech are not too upset about this setback, as they have other Taxol stent patents in their portfolio, which this decision does not apparently affect, and the EPO have upheld the patent in opposition proceedings. A quick check on the European Patent Office's epoline service shows that Angiotech in fact have no fewer than 10 other EP applications deriving from EP0706376, so will have another few cracks at the whip before all is lost. Also, Angiotech still have various parallel national patents in Europe including one in Holland, deriving from the same European application, which last year was upheld by a Dutch court.

Whether the UK courts are too strict on patentees or the EPO and other European courts are too lax is a difficult one to judge, and not an issue the IPKat feels comfortable commenting on. However, this is clearly one of those cases where the decision is finely balanced and can easily go either way. As far as Angiotech are concerned though, this is clearly one that is well worth fighting all the way for.
Angiotech appeal fails Angiotech appeal fails Reviewed by David Pearce on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. In terms of comparison between UK and EPO practice, it looks as if this UK case was running in parallel with opposition proceedings in the EPO, which at first instance revoked the patent. So I'm not sure this highlights a different practice between the two offices/courts.

    It would only go to court if it were a borderline case, so a degree of disagreement is not surprising.

  2. Paclitaxel has some interesting patents associated with it; in particular, the key inventive step of one patent is challenged and contradicted in the preamble of another patent!

  3. What I find interesting in this case is whether the EPO problem and solution approach, correctly applied, would deliver the "obvious" result arrived at in England, or the "not obvious" answer delivered (so far) in Den Haag. But, as the TBA is only looking at admissibility, in its oral proceedings in March, we may never know what the TBA thinks about Art 56.


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