Bloomsbury IP/IT Briefing: April Teaser

This month’s Briefing includes two important patent judgments in the UK courts, as well as trade mark decisions from the IPEC and the CJEU, as well as information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on IP offices and the courts.

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision in the case concerning the SPC for ranibizumab, reported in last month’s briefing. It was notable that the hearing was held by video conference and the judgment published just three days later.

In the Patents Court, Arnold J handed down a detailed judgment in a clear-the-way case concerning inhibitors for treating anaemia (Akebia Therapeutics Inc v Fibrogen, Inc). The decision addressed in particular obviousness, insufficiency and indirect infringement and the judge concluded that almost all of the patent claims were invalid for insufficiency, and there was no threat to infringe. The judgment includes a thorough analysis of the law on insufficiency, and also warnings to litigators regarding expert evidence and technical primers.

In a trade mark case at the IPEC concerning pet foods, the judge Mr David Stone found both trade mark infringement and passing off based on finding a likelihood of confusion between the mark NATURAL INSTINCT and the sign TRUE INSTINCT. The judge’s conclusion was bolstered by extensive evidence of actual consumer confusion presented to the court.

Three judgments of the CJEU in the past month concern trade marks: Coty v Amazon, which concerned Amazon’s liability for sales by third parties; The Gömböc Kutató case referred from Hungary on the exclusions in Article 3 of the Trade Mark Directive; and Gugler France, where the Court upheld a finding that an ‘economic link’ between rival parties precluded a finding of likelihood of confusion.

Finally, this month’s briefing provides details on the latest guidance from the UK IPO and other IP offices, and the UK courts, on measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IP/IT Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.

Written by James Nurton

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