Archives: Intellectual Property

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German Patent Law Reform Would Introduce “Disproportionality” Defence

On 27 January 2021, the German Parliament discussed a draft law that would limit a patent owner’s ability to stop the production and distribution of an infringing product. The new law would enable the infringer to rely on a defence of “disproportionate hardship” against an otherwise justified cease-and-desist claim. While the German Association of the … Continue Reading

Court of Justice Rules That Genentech Must Pay Royalties to Sanofi

In its 7 July 2016 Genentech judgment (Case C-567/14), the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) ruled that Genentech had to pay royalties to Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland under its licence agreement. The Paris Court of Appeal requested a preliminary ruling on whether the provisions of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union … Continue Reading

General Court Makes Interim Order to Protect Confidentiality in Pari Pharma Transparency Case

Raj Gathani, a Trainee Solicitor in Covington’s London office, contributed to this post. On 1 September 2015 the General Court issued an interim order in favour of Pari Pharma GmbH (“Pari”) to suspend the European Medicines Agency’s (“EMA”) decision to grant a third-party, Novartis Europharm Ltd (“Novartis”), access to certain documents prepared during the Marketing Authorisation … Continue Reading

EU Commission Publishes Fifth Report On Patent Settlements In the Pharmaceutical Sector

The European Commission published its Fifth Monitoring Report of Patent Settlements today. Patent settlements enable patent-related disputes to be resolved without having to litigate issues such as patent validity or patent infringement.  The Commission takes the view that patent settlements can infringe competition law when they prompt generic suppliers to delay entry in return for … Continue Reading

The CDA – Five Practical Considerations

The Confidential Disclosure Agreement (“CDA”) is widely used in the Life Sciences Sector, and provides protection for a key asset – a party’s confidential information and trade secrets.  This post does not propose to go through the various possible provisions of a CDA or their negotiation, but instead sets out five practical considerations to take into … Continue Reading

A Move to Harmonise Trade Secret Laws Across Europe?

Hannah Edmonds, a trainee associate in Covington’s London office, contributed to this post. Currently, legal  regimes governing protection of trade secrets and confidential information across the EU are fairly disparate. A study published by the European Commission in July (  has identified a ‘widespread appetite for a harmonized approach’ across the region. Harmonisation of the … Continue Reading

Time Is Running Out for Commenting on the Unified Patent Court Rules

The consultation period for the draft proposed Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patents Court (“Rules”) closes on 1 October 2013.  Any life science business with European operations will, sooner or later, find itself before the Unified Patents Court once it becomes operational, either as a claimant or defendant.  The consequences of that litigation will … Continue Reading

Ten Considerations When Taking a Licence From a University

Taking a licence from a university or other academic institution raises specific considerations in addition to those that would normally apply in a purely commercial setting.  We set out below ten key considerations for any commercial entity taking a licence from a university in the EU. 1. Continuing academic research in the field and publication … Continue Reading

The Perils of One-Way Jurisdiction Clauses

Overview A one-way jurisdiction clause (also known as “hybrid”, “asymmetrical” or “unilateral non-exclusive” jurisdiction clauses), requires that one of the parties to a contract must always submit a dispute arising from the contract to a particular country’s courts, whilst allowing the other party the flexibility to commence proceedings in the courts of any country it … Continue Reading

Drug Patent Protection in Korea under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement

The implementation of a free trade deal concluded with Korea – the EU’s tenth-largest trading partner – is well on the way, notes the European Commission.  In 2009, Korea became the first Asian country to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers in almost all products, including pharmaceuticals.  The … Continue Reading

EU Unitary Patent is Likely to be Significantly Delayed

By Morag Peberdy and Christina Helden Life sciences companies are already contemplating changing their patent strategies in anticipation of the EU’s Unitary Patent.  However, the timeline for the EU Unitary Patent has been delayed.  When the legislative package was agreed last December, many speculated that the 1 January 2014 date for the implementation of the … Continue Reading

The UK Patent Box Regime: An Overview

The UK Patent Box regime aims to incentivise companies to retain and commercialise existing patents and to develop new innovative patented products. The regime allows companies to apply a lower rate of corporation tax to qualifying worldwide profits attributable to qualifying patents and other similar intellectual property (“IP”) rights. It forms part of the UK … Continue Reading

A Unitary Patent for Europe is Finally Approved

This post originally appeared on our sister blog, InsideTechMedia.   After more than 40 years of discussions, the European Parliament today voted in favour of the “EU patent package,” hot on the heels of the European Council’s approval yesterday.  The EU patent package will create a Unitary EU Patent i.e. a uniform patent which will have equal effect and will … Continue Reading

Trade Marks and Designs: Basic Facts

Article originally published in the Briefing paper for the BioIndustry Association on October 9, 2012 Background: This note provides an introduction to trade marks and designs, from a European perspective. It aims to explain the relevance of trade marks and designs to bioscience companies. It has been prepared by Morag Peberdy of Covington & Burling LLP, … Continue Reading

Employee’s Rights to Compensation for Inventions – a European Perspective

Article originally published in PLC Life Sciences Handbook 2009/2010 Many life science companies rely on their employees’ inventiveness to fuel their research and development (R&D) efforts and generate patents. The most successful inventions can generate billions of euros of sales annually. In some circumstances, the employees who created the patentable inventions may be entitled to … Continue Reading

The Outcome of the EC Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry

Article originally published in Concurrences, N° 3-2009 (September 2009) PROCEED WITH CAUTION ACROSS THE IP/COMPETITION INTERSECTION DG Competition’s release of its long-awaited Final Report on its Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry on 8 July 2009 was somewhat of a damp squib compared to the fireworks surrounding the publication of its Interim Report some eight months earlier. The release … Continue Reading

DG Competition’s Preliminary Report on the Pharma Sector Inquiry: A Need for Clear Signals at the IP/Competition Intersection

Article originally published in Global Competition Policy, February 2009  The release of DG Competition’s Preliminary Report on its Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry on November 28, 2008 was a Brussels media event, with press briefings, press releases, and an all-day public hearing that was covered by the Commission’s live television channel.1 Much of the discussion at the … Continue Reading