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The latest case on SPCs: the CJEU rules in favour of chaos

02 March 2017

Author: Mike Snodin
Bio-science Law Review (January 2017)

This article was first published in Volume 15, Issue 6 of Bio-science Law Review. It discusses the CJEU's judgement in C-572/15 (F. Hoffman-La Roche).

Whilst focussed upon a seemingly “niche” issue (a transitional provision in the SPC legislation), the judgement in C-572/15 has potentially very broad implications. This is because the CJEU’s ruling leads to an outcome that appears to contravene principles of EU law that are aimed at upholding legal certainty. In this respect, the article starts by highlighting some troubling omissions and (apparent) oversights in the CJEU’s reasoning. It also discusses alternative approaches that could have served to (better) preserve legal certainty and notes the absence of any clear reasons why the CJEU did not adopt such approaches. Finally, the article concludes by noting that SPC proprietors adversely affected by the CJEU’s decision may have the option of seeking recompense via legal actions alleging contravention of the right to (the protection of) property that is enshrined in Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

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