Competition law poses new threat to pharma
Hiding prior art or data could increasingly lead to legal action under EU competition law. Peter Crowther and Gareth Morgan explain why the threat is so broad
During patent prosecution, companies routinely make representations
to a patent office as to the extent of the prior art of which they are
aware; it is not unusual to omit details that could be prejudicial to
the grant of a patent. Likewise, data presented in a patent document may
be cherry picked from experimental data so that only those that happen
to support the patent document's key claim are included. While this is
not illegal, and in Europe there is no formal offence of "fraud on the
patent office" as there is in the United States, recent competition law
developments indicate that competition authorities and parties suffering
loss from an abuse of a dominant position may proceed against a
patentee who has behaved in this manner....
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