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    Press>Press reviews 2007

    Press 2007

    May 2007

    May 2007

    “France opens the floodgates

    Unlike jurisdictions such as the US and the UK, French courts have seen little biotech action. But a decision handed down earlier this year could change that. On February 7 the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris dismissed a patent suit launched by French research organization Institut Pasteur against Chiron (now Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics). The ruling is significant because it is the first French decision ever issued relating to the infringement of a molecular biology patent. "There is a process in biotechnology research,” says Thomas Bouvet, a partner of Véron & Associés who advised the defendants in the case. “Companies that start searching for breakthroughs require a lot of investment. Then they begin to apply for patents - and then they start to file litigation. The fact that this is the first decision in this area shows that the industry in France has matured.” The dispute began when Institut Pasteur, a non-profit private research body, accused Chiron of infringing its European patent 178,978, The HIV-related patent dealt with cloned DNA sequences, hybridizable with genomic RNA of the LAV, which the French research organization said had been infringed when Chiron marketed kits for the detection o f the IUV. It asked the Court to award it € 8 million interim damages. But in its decision the Court held that Institut Pasteur's patent could not be given the broad scope c1aimed by the plaintiff in view of the prosecution history and the patent description. It also argued that if the patent were to he given such a broad scope, it would be invalid in view of the prior art. It went on to rule that Institut Pasteur did nor provide sufficient evidence that Chiron's HIV detection kits would reproduce the claimed characteristics nor that the defendant would supply a means relating to an essential element of the invention. As a result, the Court decided that Chiron's products did not fall within the scope of the patent and that the sale of the kits was not an .act of contributory infringement. The dispute between Chiron and Institut Pasteur is one of a number of lawsuits filed by the French institute against companies manufacturing HIV blood test kits in France. A trial in another of the cases is expected to be heard within one year. Véron & Associés' Bouvet says that the Court's ruling in the Chiron case should give IP owners confidence. "The biotech industry wants to ensure that the French courts are able to handle this kind of litigation. The Court was able to deal with the case using the same principles of infringement used in other patent cases. In my opinion the quality of the decision was reassuring for the industry.” And Bouvet says that the decision could lead to many more cases being filed in France. "It signalled that the first cases are arriving, and there are already other cases pending.”

    The case

    Institut Pasteur r SAS Chiron Blood Testing and Chiron Healthcare Ireland Limited
    Tribunal de Grande Instance. Paris. February 7 2007
    For Institut Pasteur: Marina Cousté. Howrey.
    For SAS Chiron Blood Testing and Chiron Healthcare Ireland Limited: Pierre Véron and Thomas Bouvet. Véron & Associés.”

    Full article in French
    1 947 Ko

    Trophée Lauréats, April 2007

    Trophée Lauréats, April 2007

    Golden Trophy Trademarks and Patents
    awarded to Véron & Associés

    Trademarks and Patents are governed by similar systems for their defence but quite differing rules apply. Effectively, conditions of how to obtain, registration criteria, and the duration of protection are very different. As a result, in 2001, the law firm Véron & Associés made the strategic choice to devote itself entirely to patent litigation and related matters. In 2007 this law firm is still unique in its field. The law firm Véron & Associés is active in all industry sectors such as pharmaceutical, chemistry, mechanics, electronics and telecommunications and benefits from an excellent reputation in specialised legal directories. Already, back in 2006 the French magazine Décideurs Stratégie Finance et Droit rated Véron & Associés amongst the top tier, must-go-to law firms in their sector. This year, the jury decided to award the law firm the Golden Trophy for Trademarks and Patents, Trophée d’or 2007 Marques et Brevets. With two offices in Paris and Lyon, the law firm has built an impressive list of clients, both French and International of which one can cite Sanofi Aventis, L’Oréal, Air Liquide, Novartis, Chiron, Agilent Technologies, Technogénia, and even the European Bank. The law firm has intervened in cases of the greatest financial importance over the past few years concerning patents (e.g. the case Agilent Technologies versus Waters) The jury in particular appreciated the holistic and innovate approach of the law firm. The team is made up of four partners (Pierre Véron, Isabelle Romet, Thomas Bouvet and Sabine Agé) and eight associates (of which Blandine Finas-Tronel) and assisted on a permanent basis by a scientific consultant, a graphic designer, two in-house translators and legal support in documentation and research in charge of the management and enrichment of the law firms’ vast resources of publications. Where other patent litigation law firms buy-in the services of patent agents and translation agencies the law firm Véron has opted for in-house recruitment which enables a good reactivity and a better understanding of the complex technical aspects of the patents. At this time where environmental considerations are at the fore-front, the jury was also appreciative of the concept of the “Pleadings CD Rom” developed by the law firm. The disc contains the complete proceedings and evidence, scanned and indexed with a possibility to navigate active links and perform key-word searches throughout thousands of pages. This innovation appears very timely and welcome in a world where paper is king and case files are weighty!”

    Full article in French
    2 475 Ko

    Global Awards, April 2007

    Global Awards, April 2007

    Winner : Véron & Associés

    For the second year running, Véron has been recognized in the MIP awards for its achievement in litigation in France. In the past year it has represented Bayer Crop Science over a patent for GM corn, Air Liquide in a case over liquid gas bottles a, 3M in a dispute over a drug-processing patent.”

    Full article
    1 169 Ko