The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has created an urgent need to scale up the production and supply of essential medical equipment, including so-called Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator Systems (RMVSs), to treat COVID-19 patients. To help meet this challenge, the UK government announced on 3 April 2020 that it will indemnify designers and manufacturers of RMVSs for claims relating to infringement of third-party intellectual property (IP) rights and for product liability claims resulting from defective equipment.

Formal notification of the two indemnities was given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, to the Public Accounts Committee on 3 April 2020.[1] In the notice, Minister Grove noted that he could not give the normal fourteen sitting days’ notice because “commercial negotiations have only just concluded and contract signature did not allow further delay”. Details of the terms of the referenced agreement have not, however, been provided, as they were said to be commercially sensitive and would continue to be until negotiations had been finalised. It is therefore not yet clear who are the parties to the agreement, whether any cap will apply to the indemnities, whether the government will offer the same terms across the board, or whether it will negotiate them in individual supply agreements.


Continue Reading UK Government Offers IP Indemnity to Designers and Manufacturers of Ventilators for COVID-19 Patients

A recent CJEU judgment serves as a useful reminder to pharmaceutical companies of the dangers of registering a trade mark prematurely in the development of pharmaceutical products.

Background of the case

On 28 November 2017, Viridis Pharmaceutical Ltd brought an appeal before the CJEU against the General Court’s verdict to uphold the EUIPO’s Board of Appeal decision to revoke Viridis’s BOSWELAN trade mark for pharmaceutical products. The trade mark was originally revoked by the EUIPO following a claim by Hecht-Pharma GmbH that Viridis’s trade mark had not been put to ‘genuine use’.

Viridis appealed the General Court’s decision before the CJEU on the following grounds:

  1. The BOSWELAN trade mark had been put to ‘genuine use’ during the course of clinical trials; and
  2. There was a ‘proper reason’ for non-use of the trade mark which was sufficient for the purposes of avoiding revocation of the mark.


Continue Reading Pharmaceutical companies: beware of revocation of EU trade marks for lack of ‘genuine use’ during clinical trials