Posted: March 4th, 2009
Institut Pasteur v. Chiron Healthcare c.s., appeal in infringement proceedings, Cour d'Appel, Paris, France, 4 March 2009, Docket No. 07/08437, with thanks to Pierre Véron, Véron & Associés
Even a pioneer patent cannot be granted a general scope if its claims are drafted using restrictive words.
A non-ambiguous claim with a narrow scope cannot be granted a general scope on the pretext of an interpretation when, in particular, the patentee was forced to limit the scope of the claim during the grant and opposition procedures in order to be distinguished from the prior art.
The patentee, which amended its claims to confer them a restricted scope, cannot, without damaging the legal certainty of third parties, allege that the amendments were not necessary, that the restricted claims would have the same scope as the initial broader claims and that the prior art documents having motivated the amendments would not be relevant.
Institut Pasteur cannot use the doctrine of equivalents, since claim 8 does not cover the general means but the specific means.
Read the judgment (in French) here.
Read the judgment (in English) here.