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Judicial Court of Paris halts SPC battle between MSD and generics




In France, MSD is currently battling against Mylan, Sandoz, Teva, Biogaran and EG Labo. Recently, the Judicial Court of Paris issued four decisions. For now, the battle between MSD and the generics companies is on hold.

All patent disputes are based on the national SPC for basic patent EP 07 20 599. The SPC protects the combination of ezetimib and simvastatin, on which MSD’s cholesterol-lowering drug Inegy is based.

Meanwhile the SPC (FR05C0040) has expired. The dispute, therefore, focus mainly on the question of damages.

First instance wins/second instance loss

While the first instance Judicial Court of Paris found the SPC valid in several cases, the Court of Appeal came to a different conclusion. It declared the SPC null, such as in the cases MSD against Mylan (case ID: 19/06114), and MSD against Teva (case ID: 18/23642).

Only in MSD against Biogaran did the first- and second-instance courts come to the same conclusion. Here, both courts declared the SPC invalid, subsequently rejecting the originator’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

Meanwhile, Sandoz and EG Labo, the French subsidiary of Stada Group, had stopped marketing their generics until the SPC expired. This followed the first instance ruling of the Judicial Court at the beginning of 2019, which declared the SPC valid.

Judicial Court of Paris for damages

In the cases against Mylan and Teva, MSD appealed the decisions of the Court of Appeal that nullified the SPC. Now these cases are pending before the Supreme Court.

At the Judicial Court of Paris, the parties are fighting parallel over possible damages. In the disputes against Mylan, Sandoz, Biogaran and EG Labo, the first instance court ordered a stay of the proceedings pending the Supreme Court decision with regards to the validity of the SPC.

Trade secrets kept secret

The 3rd chamber, which deals with IP disputes, not only decided to stay the proceedings. Furthermore, in the proceedings against Sandoz and Mylan, the judges also ordered MSD to destroy the documentation communicated following previous procedural judge’s orders.

It also prohibited the innovator to use these documents, to ensure the party cannot use the documentation in foreign proceedings in the future.

Previously, Biogaran had already successfully fought off a demand from MSD, to produce confidential information. In spring 2020, the Judicial Court of Paris ordered Biogaran to disclose information relating to producers, distributors and importers of its products, as well as the amount and the prices of commercialised products (case ID: 17/17048).

Biogaran appealed this decision. In a ruling from 2 March 2021, the Court of Appeal overturned the order of the pre-trial judge from 2020. It rejected MSD’s claims for disclosure of confidential information by Biogaran. The second-instance judges found that the requested information fell under the scope of trade secrets.

Battle between long-standing advisors

In all cases, MSD relied on Allen & Overy partner Laetitia Bénard, who is known for pharma litigation.

Mylan and Sandoz both counted on Denis Schertenleib, who is regularly active in pharma litigation on the side of generic companies.

Biogaran is a regular client for mixed firm Casalonga. Biogaran not only relies on the team’s litigators in such disputes, but also hires its renowned patent attorneys for EPO filing and oppositions.

August & Debouzy represented Teva in the dispute with MSD. Partners Grégoire Desrousseaux and Francois Pochart led the team, which has long-advised its regular client in the French part of complex pan-European proceedings. This includes against Novartis in the dispute over immunosuppressant everolimus.

For MSD (all cases)
Allen & Overy (Paris): Laetitia Bénard

For Mylan (case ID 17/14664) and Sandoz (case ID 19/02893)
Schertenleib Avocats (Paris): Denis Schertenleib, Ombeline Degrèze-Péchade

For Biogaran (case ID 17/17048)
Casalonga (Paris): Marianne Gabriel

For EG Labo (19/02892)
BCTG Avocats (Paris): Gaëlle Bloret-Pucci

Judicial Court of Paris, 3rd chamber
Nathalie Sabotier (presiding judge – case ID 17/17048 )
Gilles Buffet (presiding judge – case ID 17/14664)
Carine Gillet (presiding judge – case ID 19/02893 an 19/02892)

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The world’s inhabitants have adapted. The complexities of daily life have been adopted by technology, which has exploded with a plethora of solutions. The workplace has been displaced in many ways, but it has also seen remarkable productivity and a strong enthusiasm for innovation and reinvention. Governments are being challenged to support their citizens and secure sociability.

MTE 2021– The 2nd COVID-19 International Innovation Awards (a virtual event) is scheduled to return in June 2021. The awards were created to recognize and honour all COVID-19-related inventions.

Do you have an innovative solution, idea or an initiative to address a public health crisis?The awards are open to any Institutions of Higher Learning, Research Institutions, Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges, Healthcare Providers, Organizations, Leaders and Individuals who have innovations, ideas or implemented creative ways to minimize the impact on public health, livelihoods, and limit disruptions to economies, supply chains and way of lives.

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Google wants to abolish degrees: they will be ‘replaced’ by 6-month certificates




Google will soon start accepting learning certificates issued by its experts instead of traditional university degrees: is this the beginning of a revolution?

Important news at Google. The web giant has announced its intention to abolish traditional degrees, replacing them with its own certificates of learning. The news comes directly from the official blog of the world’s most used search engine. Learning or career certificates are documents issued by Google experts to those who successfully attend online courses lasting about six months. These are lessons given by experts who deal with very technical subjects with an extremely practical approach. The courses cover subjects such as web programming, big data analysis, user interface design, social network management and the creation of online advertising campaigns. In all these areas, Google has declared its intention to consider its courses as equivalent to the four-year degrees awarded by traditional American and European universities.

Read also -> Pixel Buds: Google headsets that translate 40 languages

Why does Google want to abolish degrees?

But why does Google want to abolish university degrees? According to statements by Mountain View executives, the goal is twofold and very noble. Firstly, replacing traditional degrees with career certificates would mean widening the pool of students who can acquire a degree. The cost of Google’s courses has not yet been revealed, but it should be around 300 dollars: much less than the cost of a university tuition fee for four years. The second objective of Big G is to facilitate the entry of young people into the labour market by providing them with effectively useful and immediately spendable skills. Google’s courses will be held directly by the company’s employees and will offer all the information needed to start working immediately.

You might also be interested in this → Google shatters artificial intelligence records with its new computer

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Has Tesla Acquired Another Innovative Battery Startup?




Originally posted on EVANNEX.
by Charles Morris

Everyone loves a good mystery, especially when it has to do with Tesla and a potential battery breakthrough. In regards to Tesla’s rumored acquisition of a Canadian battery startup, we know just enough to spin an intriguing story (at least we hope you, dear readers, will find it so).

Automakers are naturally secretive about their technologies, especially ones that are still in development. Tesla is certainly no exception in this regard, so we won’t expect the company to release any details about this matter any time soon. However, TechCrunch has pieced together enough from publicly available information to indicate that Tesla has acquired Toronto-based Springpower International, the developer of an innovative manufacturing process that could make Tesla’s batteries cleaner and cheaper.

At Tesla’s Battery Day last September, Senior VP of Engineering Drew Baglino described a new process for making nickel-metal cathodes. The current process generates large quantities of wastewater, which contains bits of metal, ammonia, and other toxic chemicals. The new process reuses water and produces little waste. Baglino said it has the potential to reduce operating costs by 75%.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, Tesla purchased a number of patent applications from Springpower International, one of which describes an innovative process similar to the one that Baglino mentioned. In Springpower’s process, “the bulk of the aqueous solution used for the wet chemical reaction can be recycled…so that the total process has little or no effluent generated during production of the cathode precursor material.”

Since then, Springpower’s former website has disappeared, and several of Springpower’s top techies are now working for Tesla.

Springpower was founded in March 2010, and received a $3.4-million grant from tech incubator Sustainable Development Technology Canada in 2018. James Sbrolla, who mentored the young company and helped it to secure the government grant, told TechCrunch that, although he hasn’t been in contact with Springpower lately, he wasn’t surprised to hear about the rumored Tesla acquisition.

“It’s a group of smart people, no question about it,” Sbrolla told TechCrunch. “Technology like Springpower’s gives tremendous upside with a reduced environmental footprint, and being attached to a larger organization makes scaling much quicker and easier.”

Acquiring Springpower would fit nicely with Tesla’s long-term goal of bringing more of its battery technology in-house. “Now that we have this process, we’re going to start building our own cathode facility in North America,” said Baglino on Battery Day. While the California carmaker will continue to use suppliers such as Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL (for reasons of scale, if nothing else), it is always on the lookout for new ways to make its batteries safer, greener, and cheaper.

The new cathode manufacturing process is just one of many incremental improvements Tesla has in store for its batteries (and other components) and the techniques used to make them. Over the next few years, the cumulative results could be nothing short of revolutionary.

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Nokia sharpens patent firms’ focus on diversity




Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia has launched its Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (E,I&D) Scorecard. The company will evaluate, via quarterly and annual quantitative and qualitative assessments, whether its panel firms are taking steps to implement an effective E,I&D programme.

Assessments will score law firms based on factors such as recruitment policies, pay equality, and availability of mentoring and pro bono initiatives. It also examines the percentage of billable work carried out by employees from different backgrounds, engagement with D&I organisations, and the presence of a dedicated E, I&D team.

For Nassib Abou-Khalil, chief legal officer at Nokia, the company’s visible commitment to hiring diverse teams is a fundamental aspect of Nokia’s future company direction.

Nokia, scorecard, Nassib Abou-Khalil

Nassib Abou-Khalil

In conservation with JUVE Patent, Abou-Khalil says, “Promoting inclusion and diversity is high on Nokia’s agenda, and we are collaborating with our suppliers and other stakeholders to make I&D a major differentiator to Nokia.”

“Practical examples include, for instance, trainings to suppliers and asking them to share their inclusion & diversity plans with us.”

The initiative is not unique to patent law firms, with Eversheds Sutherland, Roschier, Bird & Bird, Quinn Emanuel, McKool Smith, and Alston & Bird in the first participating group.

However, Nokia’s visibility in rolling out its programme should provide a benchmark for IP and patent firms going forward.

Steps in the right direction

Observers often criticise the European patent market for its lack of women and/or those identifying as Black, Asian or minority-ethnic in senior positions. The issue has recently come to light, for example, in the UK’s hire of two judges for its IP bench. Furthermore, recent studies have also discussed how to address the issue of ‘hidden disabilities’ and other, less obvious indicators of diversity such as sexuality and gender.

Thus, for larger, multi-jurisdictional patent law firms, the onus is on their ability to respond to market pressures. At historic law firms such as Bird & Bird and Eversheds Sutherland, as market demographics changed during the latter half of the 20th century, the companies began integrating equity, inclusion and diversity into their corporate strategies.

Diversity, pitch-side

Nowadays, however, equity and inclusion often form part of hiring formulas and pitching structures. As such, patent firms tend to take such requirements more seriously. The kind of directive, such as Nokia’s EI&D scorecard, are becoming more widespread in IP and patent law.

If a potential client extends its own diversity requirements to the law firm, there is a greater chance of in-house and law firms sharing core values of equity and representation. Thus, it is likely that other in-house teams will follow suit in their law firm selection process.

Nassib Abou-Khalil says, “Overall, we are very pleased to see more focus being put on equity, diversity and inclusion topics in the legal industry, with more and more companies launching initiatives to promote diversity not only internally but through the companies they partner with.”

He continues, “Many companies, though, have opted for a carrot or stick approach. However, we have taken a unique approach to prioritise dialogue, collaboration and by helping partners drive change to create a more inclusive diverse and equitable legal profession.”

Boutiques offer fresh perspective

Some lawyers suggest that there is less opportunity for boutique law firms to fill diversity quotes. This is especially the case if the firm is based away from global cities such as London, which are known for having diverse populations. In other, less diverse cities, boutique firms can have greater trouble attracting and displaying a broader demographic of employees.

On the other hand, some boutiques are, alongside historic law firms, comparatively young. For example, Nokia also works with Arnold Ruess in Germany. Founded just ten years ago, its partnership is younger than some more longer-established firms. Such boutiques, created in a more modern era, have the ability to implement diverse practices from the outset. This is something that Nokia’s new initiative reflects.

Abou-Khalil says, “We chose the six panel law firms to pilot the scorecard with, and are planning to extend the scorecard to all law firms we use in the future.”

Women in front

One leading patent partner notes that the IP sector in general provides a good mixture of, for example, female partners across the board. However, in patent specifically, firms could do more to encourage applications from, and retention of, female patent attorneys and patent litigators at partner level.

Clemens-August Heusch, automatic injunction

Clemens-August Heusch

Clemens-August Heusch, VP head of global litigation and disputes at Nokia, says, “As a sector of IP and patent law, life sciences and pharmaceuticals tend to attract more women. But engineering and mechanics are always one step behind.”

He says, “At Nokia, we are encouraging more women to take up STEM subjects at a high school and university level. There is absolutely no reason why it should always be men in this sector.”

Nokia’s drive for inclusion

Abou-Khalil says, “What makes Nokia’s approach unique is that it focuses on collaboration, partnership, support, and encouragement to create a network where Nokia’s Legal & Compliance organisation and the key law firms it uses hold each other accountable to progress equity, inclusion, and diversity representation.”

Abou-Khalil says, “Once we roll out the scorecard to all firms, they will not be alone in this improving their E, I&D practices, but will have the support of Nokia and a network of other companies to learn from. Our goal is not to put anyone at a disadvantage. Rather, to work collaboratively with all our law firms towards making a positive impact improving Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in the legal profession.”

And this initiative is not the first time that Nokia has extended a commitment to fostering greater diversity. In 2020, it launched a partnership with Diversity Lab, “an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost inclusion and diversity in law… in collaboration with top law firms and legal departments.”

One example of its work is its “Mansfield Rule for Legal Departments 2nd Edition,” a movement to broaden the pool of eligible candidates in legal leadership positions.

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