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Medical Wire & Equipment
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MWE updates Customers with more details about the final decision of the European Patent Office on Copan’s European Patent EP 1 608 268 B1

Final decision on the scope of Copan’s European Patent EP 1 608 268 B1 by European Patent Office – Narrowed down scope of EP’268 confirmed by the EPO!

Corsham, Wiltshire UK – June 2015

On June 3rd, 2015, in the oral hearing before the Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office (EPO), the EPO has taken its final decision regarding Copan’s European Patent EP 1 608 268 B1 ("EP’268"). The Board of Appeals of the EPO confirmed that Copan’s EP’268 is only valid in a scope which is substantially narrower than the claim set as originally granted1.

1 EP’268 was challenged in Opposition Proceedings at the European Patent Office. The Opposition Division significantly narrowed the scope of EP’268 from what had originally been granted. The decision of the Board of Appeals ends the entire proceedings before the EPO.

This decision marks the EPO’s final and binding decision on the validity and the narrowed down scope of EP’268.

In the aftermath of this decision, Copan is now bound to the scope of EP’268 which is substantially narrower than originally claimed and which can no longer be broadened.

Most importantly, claim 1 of EP’268 contains, amongst others, the following features (emphasis added):

  • said fibre covers said tip in the form of a layer having uniform thickness,
  • Deposited by flocking in an ordered arrangement of the fibre normal to the surface of the tip of the rod.

Puritan’s HydraFlock® and PurFlock Ultra® flocked swab products are flocked differently and do not have Copan’s claimed fibre arrangement.

As already reported in one of our press releases in 2014, this was unambiguously made clear by statements of the District Court Düsseldorf in an oral hearing on June 24, 2014 (case no. 4b O 176/12). The Düsseldorf Court is often considered the most important European court for the enforcement of patent rights.

In this case, Copan had asserted German Utility Model2 DE 20 2004 021 787 U1 ("DE’787") before the Düsseldorf Court.

As both EP’268 and DE’787 contain these narrow features because both rights relate to the same invention and Copan is now bound to the final decision of the Board of Appeals of the EPO, it can be concluded that Puritan’s HydraFlock® and PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs are also outside the scope of Copan’s European Patent.

Since all of Copan’s German Utility Models relating to flocked swabs3 have expired at the end of March 2014 and are irrelevant for sales in Germany from that date forward, Medical Wire’s German customers have freedom to operate.

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For more information contact: David Skaug-Ellis, Managing Director Email: dellis@mwe.co.uk Telephone: +44 (0) 1225 810361 Address: Medical Wire & Equipment, Corsham, Wiltshire, England, SN13 9RT