Difficult Questions, Important Answers: The Latest Case on SPCs
05 February 2016
Author: Mike Snodin
SCRIP Regulatory Affairs (1 February 2016)
This article, first published in SCRIP Regulatory Affairs on 1 February 2016, discusses the latest case on SPCs (C-572/15, F. Hoffman-La Roche). In that case, the Supreme Court (Riigikohus) in Estonia has sought clarification from the CJEU on the interpretation of a transitional provision in the SPC legislation that derives from the 2003 Treaty of Accession to the EU. As well as explaining how general principles of EU law could be contravened if the transitional provision is taken at face value, the article outlines two alternative approaches that the CJEU could take to avoid that undesirable outcome. Finally, the article points out that the ruling in C-572/15 could not only issue at a very opportune time (in the light of a possible review of the SPC legislation) but could also attract a significant amount of interest from outside of the world of SPCs.