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No time for a Napp Patents and the High Court

Written by Michael Coyle on 28 March 2009

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No time for a Napp

The English patent court certainly did itself many favours in March as Jacob LJ and Lord Neuberger agreed to a speedy full determination of the issues which saved costs and time. Both judges gave a purposive construction to the claims and supported the reputation of the English court as fair and balanced. What impressed me so much was the the speed of reaching a final determination some three months from the first decision. The speed and the willingness to support the patent holders ought to make potential patentees keen to litigate in this country and certainly attractive in the current absence of a centralised European patent litigation system.

The appeal concerning Sandoz and its claim for validity which was dismissed and allowed appeal from Napp concerning infringement. The patents were valid and infringed.

Napp Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd. Napp was the owner of two patents EP (UK) 722730 and 1258246. In a hearing in December last year the trial Judge held both patents valid but not infringed by the Respondent Sandoz. The patents related to a type of painkiller called oxycodone and its big business 32 million pounds per annum in the UK alone. The trade mark OxyContin is a painkiller used as an alternative to morphine for moderate to severe pain. It has certain advantages as compared with morphine. The appeal was founded on the previous decision and also because Sandoz had another product in the pipeline which it is said infringed some of the claims of the 730 patent.

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