How patents for transgenic mice got caught in a sufficiency trap


David Fyfield

How patents for transgenic mice got caught in a sufficiency trap

Kerrick /

As the UK Supreme Court reverses a Court of Appeal decision relating to sufficiency, the ruling leaves patent applicants in a potentially difficult position, argues David Fyfield of Charles Russell Speechlys.

In a blow for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the UK Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeal decision by ruling that its patents relating to transgenic mice are invalid due to lack of “sufficiency”.

In 2001, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals filed patents for transgenic mice, which are used to produce antibodies for the treatment of humans. Thirteen years later the company sued Kymab when it produced its own genetically modified mice, for an infringement of its patents.

Kymab contested the validity of the patents, on the grounds of “insufficiency”. It is a requirement of UK patent law and of the European Patent Convention (EPC) that a patent application has to disclose an invention in a manner which is sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art (article 83 of the EPC and section 14[3] of the Patents Act 1977).

Supreme Court, Regeneron, Kymab, Charles Russell Speechlys, applicants, principles, David Fyfield, ruling, Pharmaceuticals