Related insights: Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals

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Brexit and patents

02 Jul 2021
As the European patent regime is not an instrument of the European Union ("EU"), it has remained largely unaffected by Brexit. The European Patent Convention 2000 and its various protocols are not part of the accumulated body of EU law. The current membership of the European Patent Office numbers 38 countries, which is a far greater number than the current 27 member states of the EU. The membership of the United Kingdom ("UK") to the Patent Cooperation Treaty also remains unaffected.
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Brexit and exhaustion of rights

02 Jul 2021
Parallel trade is the import (and export) of genuine goods protected by intellectual property ("IP") rights, and occurs where the IP rights are said to have been 'exhausted' – where the goods are put on the relevant market by, or with the consent of, the IP-right owner.
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Brexit and designs

18 May 2021
Since 1 January 2021, the scope of protection afforded by registered Community designs ("RCDs") has not extended to the United Kingdom ("UK"). However, each owner of a RCD that was registered and published before or on 31 December 2020 has been granted a comparable registered and enforceable IP right in the UK, known as the 're-registered design' – hereafter "RRD" – which came into force automatically and free of charge on 1 January 2021.
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Brexit and trade marks

18 May 2021
Since 1 January 2021, the scope of protection afforded by European Union ("EU") trade mark registrations has not extended to the United Kingdom ("UK"). However, each owner of an EU trade mark ("EUTM") that was registered before or on 31 December 2020 has been granted a comparable registered and enforceable intellectual property ("IP") right in the UK, known as the 'comparable trade mark (EU)' – hereafter "CM(EU)" – which came into force automatically and free of charge on 1 January 2021.
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Womble Bond Dickinson advises on investment in Newcastle life sciences pioneer

19 Apr 2021
Womble Bond Dickinson has advised Mercia Fund Managers and Enterprise Ventures on the recent £5.25 million investment in Newcells Biotech, the Newcastle-based cell technology business. The Mercia-managed funds which participated in the fundraising included Northern VCTs and the North East Venture Fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia. Further funding was provided by the North East Innovation Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures.
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UK Supreme Court gives a strict interpretation on the rules of sufficiency

13 Jul 2020
The UK's Supreme Court ("UKSC") has handed down its eagerly awaited judgment in the dispute between Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc ("Regeneron") and Kymab Limited ("Kymab").  The invention by Regeneron related to the creation of a type of transgenic mouse (the "VelocImmune") that is more effective in its receipt of human antibody genes, for the production of human antibodies. As such, this genetically modified mouse has been regarded as a major breakthrough in the field of bio pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, despite such an advancement, the UKSC has held that the patents upon which Regeneron based its innovative platform are invalid for lack of sufficiency because the claims, as construed, would include a range of modified mice, some of which it would not have been possible to produce as at the priority date of February 2001.