2 February 2024
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Multiple sclerosis therapies are the subject of two of the most opposed patents of 2023. Novartis’ EP2959894 is notable from a patent attorney perspective not only because it’s the subject of 23 oppositions, but also because it contains only about three pages of text and has just one claim. While Novartis’ patent is directed to Gilenya®, Biogen’s EP2653873 (opposed by 14 parties) protects Tecfidera®.

Traditionally*, our annual table of most opposed European patents is dominated by therapeutics cases, with most of the remaining places filled by platform patents for techniques like CRISPR gene editing and biotherapeutic manufacturing.

However, this year’s table suggests that EPO oppositions are becoming more frequently used outside the life sciences and med tech industries. For example, 11 oppositions were filed against Lubrizol’s patent concerned with battery technology, and eight oppositions were filed against Changchun’s train operation system patent.

The opposition activity against patents protecting battery technology is consistent with the increasing value of green tech IP, which is also reflected in several other patents in the 2023 list. For example, seven oppositions were filed against Total Energy/OneTech’s patent directed to recycled materials. Meanwhile Coca Cola’s patent for bio-based polyethylene and Tarket’s phtalate-free PVC patent were both opposed by five parties.

Finally, as ever, there are several teams of Mewburn attorneys working on cases in this list – both attacking and defending. If you would like advice on an EPO opposition matter, big or small, then get in touch with one of our teams from Life Sciences, Chemistry, or Engineering & ICT to start a conversation.

(*Since this is our fifth year of publishing this annual list, we can now refer to tradition.).

In the table, we’ve highlighted green tech patents in green and other non-life sciences / med tech patents in orange.

 

Number of opponents

Patent No.

Patent Proprietor

Patent Title

(explanatory note, where title not self-explanatory)

23

EP2959894

Novartis AG

S1P receptor modulators for treating multiple sclerosis

15

EP3294283

 

Novartis AG

 

Sacubitril-valsartan dosage regimen for treating heart failure

14

EP2653873

 

Biogen MA Inc.

 

Compositions and uses for treating multiple sclerosis

11

EP3984092

 

The Lubrizol Corporation

 

Organic heat transfer system, method and fluid
(Battery technology)

10

EP2981255

Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH

Therapeutic uses of empagliflozin
(Empagliflozin is used to treat diabetes)

9

EP3597659

Genentech, Inc.

Prevention of disulfide bond reduction during recombinant production of polypeptides
(Biotherapeutic manufacturing)

9

EP3590949

 

ModernaTX, Inc.

 

Ribonucleic acids containing N1-methyl-pseudouracils and uses thereof
(Methods of making RNAs, which are useful in therapy)

9

EP3524595

 

Eisai R&D Management Co., Ltd.

 

High-purity quinoline derivative and method for manufacturing same
(Quinoline derivates are used to treat cancer)

8

EP3448416

 

Novo Nordisk A/S

 

Semaglutide in cardiovascular conditions

8

EP3694483

 

The Procter & Gamble Company

 

Sulfate free clear personal cleansing composition comprising low inorganic salt
(Shampoo)

8

EP3744605

CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd.

Railway train operation control method and system

7

EP3578175

Amgen Inc.

Rapid dissolution formulation of a calcium receptor-active compound
(Compound used to treat conditions such as hyperparathyroidism)

7

EP3324937

STADA Arzneimittel AG

Ready-to-use bortezomib solution
(Bortezomib is a proteosome inhibitor used to treat cancer)

7

EP3694482

The Procter & Gamble Company

Sulfate free personal cleansing composition comprising low inorganic salt
(Shampoo)

7

EP3802689

TotalEnergies OneTech Belgium

Process to produce polypropylene-based composition from post-consumer resins and articles made of said compositions

6

EP3067043

Novartis AG

Pharmaceutical compositions based on superstructures of angiotensin receptor antagonist/blocker (ARB) and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) inhibitor
(Formulation of a compound that is used to treat heart failure)

6

EP2906734

Arcelormittal

A method for manufacturing a metal sheet with a ZnAl coating and with optimised drying, corresponding metal sheet, part and vehicle

6

EP3324936

STADA Arzneimittel AG

Method for producing a bortezomib ester solution
(Bortezomib is a proteosome inhibitor used to treat cancer)

6

EP3768304

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale

Compositions and methods for increasing or enhancing transduction of gene therapy vectors and for removing or reducing immunoglobulins

5

EP3287482

The Coca-Cola Company

Method of making bio-based polyethylene terephthalate polymer product

5

EP3578173

Euro-Celtique S.A.

Dosage form containing oxycodone and naloxone

5

EP2397142

Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH

Use of DPP IV inhibitors
(DPP IV inhibitors are approved for use in treating diabetes.  This patent is directed to the use of these compounds to treat cardiac insufficiency.)

5

EP3782611

Celgene Corporation

Oral formulations of cytidine analogs and methods of use thereof
(Formulation of compound that is used to treat cancer)

5

EP3597216

E. R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C.

Human antibodies that bind lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3) and uses thereof
(This patent is directed to antibodies to treat cancer)

5

EP3981427

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A.

Pegylated liposomes for delivery of immunogen-encoding RNA
(RNA vaccines)

5

EP3970742

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A.

Pegylated liposomes for delivery of immunogen-encoding RNA
(RNA vaccines)

5

EP2611467

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A.

Pegylated liposomes for delivery of immunogen-encoding RNA
(RNA vaccines)

5

EP3733847

Toolgen Incorporated

Composition for cleaving a target DNA comprising a guide RNA specific for the target DNA and CAS protein-encoding nucleic acid or CAS protein, and use thereof
(Gene editing)

5

EP3090023

Tarkett GDL

Improved phtalate-free polyvinyl chloride plastisol compositions

5

EP3812545

Arturo Salice S.p.A.

Decelerated hinge for furniture

5

EP3266306

Schülke & Mayr GmbH

Impregnated textile fabric providing effective delivery of an alcoholic impregnant

5

EP3582989

Mubea Carbo Tech GmbH

Battery structure and protector

5

EP3655258

Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG

Wheel bearing arrangement having a coating

 

This table is based on data downloaded from the EPO 4-8 January 2024.  It lists the most opposed patents for which the 9-month opposition deadline expired in 2023.

Katherine is a Partner and Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis. She specialises in EPO oppositions and appeals, particularly defending patents in complex opposition cases involving very large numbers of opponents. Katherine advises on European prosecution strategies for many important patent families, particularly divisional strategies for opposed patents. Her prosecution work includes advising on securing grant for the high-profile family of cases protecting CRISPR/Cas platform technology invented by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier.
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