AstraZeneca patent-abuse appeal fails

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled against AstraZeneca in its appeal against a €52.5 million fine for abusing its position as a market leader.

AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, received the fine for misleading various patent offices across Europe in an attempt to prolong the length of its patents, as well as looking to block entry to the marketplace for its competitors.

While companies can apply for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) after the patent for particular drugs has expired in order to encourage innovation and compensate for the lengthy research and development process, the SPCs obtained by AstraZeneca were unlawful due to the misleading representation.

As a result of AstraZeneca’s dominant position, its action was considered in breach of the legislation covering competition in the European marketplace. This reaffirms the responsibility placed on market-leading firms not to abuse their position to the detriment of their competitors.

The intellectual property specialists at Palmers Solicitors can advise on all aspects of patents, including applying for SPCs and patent disputes, so please contact BJ Chong at our Thurrock office for more information.