A Vision in blue - patent wars

Article

The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office has postponed its final decision on two appeals lodged by two competitors against an earlier decision to maintain the European patent for VisionBlue.

The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office has postponed its final decision on two appeals lodged by two competitors against an earlier decision to maintain the European patent for VisionBlue.

Introduced in 1999, the VisionBlue product is protected by US patent US 6,720,314 and European patent EP 1 075 285. However, after the European Patent was granted, three European manufacturers of copycat products started opposition proceedings against the European Patent. The result of these proceedings was that the patent was maintained, after which two of the opponents appealed against the decision.

The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office decided during a hearing in Munich two weeks ago to await the answers to legal questions concerning the patentability of medical treatments before coming to a final decision on the validity of the patent. These answers from the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office are expected at the latest in January 2010. In the meantime, the VisionBlue patent remains fully in force and offers DORC the opportunity to fight the sales of copies of the VisionBlue product in Europe, which it claims may be produced under less than strict quality standards. DORC therefore remains the only company in Europe that can legally promote and sell VisionBlue, or any other staining product based on trypan blue for cataract / anterior capsule staining.

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