European Commission finds less problematic patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector in 2010

On 6 July 2011 the European Commission published a report that summarizes its monitoring of patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector in 2010.  The Commission’s efforts focus on potentially problematic agreements, such as those that may limit generic entry due to payments from the originator to the generic company, or so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements (see Newsletter 1/2011 p. 6 Newsletter 1/2010 p. 6, and Newsletter 4/2010 p. 7, for more background).

The report shows that while the number of patent settlement agreements between originator and generic companies increased in 2010, the number of potentially problematic agreements decreased significantly. According to the Commission, only 3 out of 89 of the settlements in 2010 fell into the category that might attract scrutiny. This result shows that EU competition law does not prevent companies from settling their disputes amicably.

The Commission will undertake a similar monitoring exercise in 2012. [Gabriele Accardo]