The Vedanta Opposition: A healthy sign of a maturing industry

September 2019

HGF Partners Craig Thomson and Rachel Fetches comment and analyse the “Vedanta Opposition” in Microbiome Times.

As we move towards marketing approval for microbiome therapeutics, the “value” of the microbiome industry is increasing exponentially. This will inevitably result in disputes between the leading competitors seeking to protect their key intellectual property (IP) rights, including patent monopoly rights.

 

The most significant challenge to patent rights in the therapeutic microbiome field to-date is the recently issued decision in the “Vedanta Opposition”. The patent (European Patent No. 2575835) was granted to the University of Tokyo (UoT) in October 2016.

 

Within the 9-months after grant, the European Patent Office (EPO) received six Oppositions from Seres Therapeutics, Nestec and four anonymous parties. The Opposition hearing lasted three days and almost 130 documents were considered. Ultimately, the patent was maintained by the EPO’s Opposition Division (OD) but in an amended form, with a narrowed claim scope; this decision has been appealed and it will likely be at least 2 years until the Appeal is heard.

 

Some elements of the claims raise difficulties for prospective patentees in the microbiome field as it enforces second use claims of this type in the national courts. Where does the OD’s decision leave Vedanta commercially?

Read the full article here.