Actavis Group PTC hf and Actavis Norway AS v. Novartis Norge AS and Novartis AG, Borgarting Court of Appeal, Norway, 23 October 2012, Case no. 11-062214ASD-BORG-02, with thanks to Inga Kaasen and Thomas Hagen, Advokatfirmaet Grette, for sending in the judgment and a head note
On 23 October 2012 the Borgarting Court of Appeal rendered its judgment in the case between Actavis Group PTC hf and Actavis Norway AS, hereafter Actavis, and Novartis Norge AS and Novartis AG, hereafter Novartis, regarding Novartis’ patent NO 304023. The patent protects an analogical process for the production of valsartan. Valsartan is an active ingredient in medicinal products used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Novartis’ patent NO 304023 expired in February 2011, but SPC/NO 1998024 prolonged the protection until 13 May 2011.
The Court of Appeal had to evaluate whether or not QSSA’s “Route C”, used by Actavis, was an obvious modification of Novartis’ patent protected process. All the features of the patent could not be found in Actavis’ process. However, the Borgarting Court of Appeal’s majority found that Actavis’ process constituted a patent infringement based on the doctrine of equivalence, as it considered the process as a nearby modification of the patent protected process. The minority found that Actavis’ QSSA process was a different process than the patented process.
The Court of Appeal concluded that Actavis had committed patent infringement. When considering Novartis’ claim for damages, the court adjusted the claim reasonably from NOK 17,000,000 to NOK 11,400,000 [approximately EUR 1,553,063; editor]. In accordance to this, Actavis had to pay NOK 11,400,000 in damages to Novartis. Legal fees were not awarded.
Read the judgment (in Norwegian) here.