Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc and Another v H N Norton and Co Ltd; Same v Penn Etc: HL 26 Oct 1995

A patent for a substance which had been produced naturally before the application of the process was invalid. The patent was invalidated after the discovery that the effect was produced naturally from an acid metabolite. Patent infringement does not require that one should be aware that one is infringing: ‘whether or not a person is working [an] . . invention is an objective fact independent of what he knows or thinks about what he is doing . .’ Decisions of the Boards of Appeal on provisions of the UK Act intended to implement corresponding provisions of the EPC have ‘great persuasive authority’.
Lord Hoffmann observed that liability under section 60 is absolute. ‘It depends upon whether the act in question falls within the claims and pays no attention to the alleged infringer’s state of mind.’

Lord Hoffmann, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Mustill, Lord Lloyd of Berwick
Times 27-Oct-1995, Gazette 15-Dec-1995, [1996] RPC 76, (1996) 19(1) IPD 19004, (1997) 33 BMLR 201, [1995] UKHL 14
Patents Act 1977 3 60
England and Wales
CitedPLG Research Ltd and Another v Ardon International Ltd and Others ChD 25-Nov-1994
A patent infingement claim was met by the assertion that the material covered had been disclosed before the patent had been obtained. The court was asked as to the test of whether the information in a claim had been disclosed. Aldous J said: ‘Mr. . .

Cited by:
CitedKirin-Amgen Inc and others v Hoechst Marion Roussel Limited and others etc HL 21-Oct-2004
The claims arose in connection with the validity and alleged infringement of a European Patent on erythropoietin (‘EPO’).
Held: ‘Construction is objective in the sense that it is concerned with what a reasonable person to whom the utterance . .
CitedSynthon Bv v Smithkline Beecham Plc HL 20-Oct-2005
Synthon filed an international application for a patent. Before it was published, SB filed a similar application in the UK patents registry. Synthon had applied for the UK patent granted to SB to be revoked. Jacob J had found that the reader of the . .
CitedAerotel Ltd v Telco Holdings Ltd and others, In re Patent Application GB 0314464.9 in the name of Neal Macrossan Rev 1 CA 27-Oct-2006
In each case it was said that the requested patent concerned an invention consisting of a computer program, and was not therefore an invention and was unpatentable. In one case a patent had been revoked on being challenged, and in the other, the . .
CitedSymbian Ltd v Comptroller General of Patents CA 8-Oct-2008
No Pattern Established to Patent Computer Systems
The Comptroller appealed against the decision in Chancery to grant a patent to the clamant for an invention which the comptroller said should have been excluded from protection under section 1(2) as a computer program. It was argued that the UK was . .
CitedWarner-Lambert Company Llc v Generics (UK) Ltd (T/A Mylan) and Another SC 14-Nov-2018
These proceedings raise, for the first time in the courts of the United Kingdom, the question how the concepts of sufficiency and infringement are to be applied to a patent relating to a specified medical use of a known pharmaceutical compound. Four . .
CitedActavis Group Ptc EHF and Others v Icos Corporation and Another SC 27-Mar-2019
The court considered: ‘the application of the test of obviousness under section 3 of the Patents Act 1977 to a dosage patent. In summary, a patent, whose validity is not challenged, identified a compound as an efficacious treatment but did not . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Leading Case

Updated: 23 January 2022; Ref: scu.83664