German Federal Patent Court grants compulsory license for AIDS medication

In a decision of August 31, 2016 (3LiQ 1/16) the German Federal Patent Court has granted, to the benefit of the company group Merck, a compulsory license concerning the German part of the European Patent EP 1 422 218 (DE 602 42 459.3) of the Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi. After taking expert evidence, the board was convinced that a certain group of AIDS-infected patients need the patent-protected AIDS-medication for medical treatment. The risk of infectiousness for other persons has also been taken into consideration. The company Merck can continue to offer and distribute the AIDS medication in the Federal Republic of Germany as it was done before. The decision has been granted in preliminary proceedings. A decision in the main proceedings is not yet in place. The case is relevant because the grant of a compulsory license in accordance with Article 24 (1) of the German Patent Act is extremely rare.