Software can be considered a medical device under EU law. Although guidance has been issued by the European Commission and national authorities to assist in legal classification, factors or criteria that are considered as relevant in such guidance have not been validated by European or national courts. The recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on legal classification of software medical device is therefore instructive.

The European Court’s first decision on the classification of software in the context of medical devices legislation

On 7 December 2017, the CJEU issued its judgment in Case C-329/16. The CJEU agreed with the Advocate General’s opinion (discussed in our previous advisory), and held that software can be classified as a medical device under EU law if the software has at least one functionality that allows the use of patient-specific data to assist the physician in prescribing or calculating the dosage for treating the underlying condition. It does not matter whether the software acts directly or indirectly on the human body. The decisive factor is whether the software is specifically intended by the manufacturer to be used for one or more medical objectives specified in Article 1(2) of Directive 93/42/EEC (the Medical Devices Directive), including the diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease.

Continue Reading Classification of software as a medical device

On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that the term of a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) can be corrected to bring it into line with CJEU case law at any time before expiry of the SPC.

Following on from the decision in Seattle Genetics (C‑471/14) in 2015, which provided welcome clarity on which date should be used as the date of the first marketing authorisation (MA) for the purposes of calculating the duration of an SPC, this week’s decision should drive consistency in the application of Seattle Genetics by national patent offices across the EU. In Incyte (C‑492/16), the CJEU has ruled that an SPC holder can apply to rectify the duration of an SPC to bring it into line with Seattle Genetics at any time before expiry of the SPC, even if the period for appealing the decision under national legislation has passed.

Continue Reading CJEU confirms that SPC term calculated using “incorrect” MA date can be rectified at any time before expiry

In October, we reported that the oral hearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) took place in Case C-557/16 relating to the role of the Concerned Member States (CMS) in the Decentralised Procedure (DCP).

The Opinion of Advocate General Bobek has now been handed down. Although the AG takes no position on whether Ribomustin or Levact should have been used as the reference medicinal product, or when the applicable regulatory data protection (RDP) period started running, he opines that the CMS may raise issues as to RDP during the assessment phase and are co-responsible for the documents approved in that procedure. However, once agreement has been reached, CMSs cannot unilaterally revisit that decision. After authorisation, the courts of CMSs are competent to review the determination of the national competent authority.

Continue Reading AG opines that CMSs are co-responsible for MAs granted under the DCP

Last month, the oral hearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union took place in Case C-557/16 relating to the role of the Concerned Member States (CMS) in the Decentralised Procedure (DCP). During the DCP, the Reference Member State (RMS) has primary responsibility for preparing the assessment report on the medicinal product, and CMSs can raise questions or objections on the grounds of a potential serious risk to public health. This case, a referral from the Finnish Court, asks whether, and if so how, administrative and legal questions, such as the length of the regulatory data protection period, should be resolved in the CMSs, considering that national marketing authorisations (MA) are granted at the end of the DCP.

The hearing highlighted that the Member States and Commission do not agree as to the interpretation of the legislation and case law, and there is a real dispute for the Court to answer. The Advocate General has said he will deliver his opinion on 30 November.

Continue Reading European Court considers role of Concerned Member States