Pharmaceutical patent proceedings


Petri Eskola and Markus Lampinen

In Finland, patent litigation proceedings are handled in the first instance by the District Court of Helsinki.

Each month only a few cases are filed with the court, most of which to date have related to pharmaceutical patents. The primary reason for the high number of pharmaceutical cases is that patent protection of pharmaceuticals has been relatively weak since most of the best-selling products are protected by so-called ‘analogous process patents’.

This special type of patent only provides protection for certain manufacturing methods mentioned in patent claims, instead of the end product or invention.

This means that a generic manufacturer can, in principle, enter the market with a competing generic product using the same active product ingredient manufactured by a different and non-infringing process. For analogous process patents, a reversed burden of proof is applied, which means that during the infringement proceedings, the defendant has to present proof that the patented method has not been used.

Pharmaceuticals, District Court of Helsinki