The Supreme Court of Canada has just released a decision today in which it voids Pfizer’s patent for viagra.
The SCC restated the basic principle of the patent system:
The patent system is based on a “bargain”, or quid pro quo: the inventor is granted exclusive rights in a new and useful invention for a limited period in exchange for disclosure of the invention so that society can benefit from this knowledge. This is the basic policy rationale underlying the Act. […]
The issues in this case must be considered in light of the quid pro quo: Is the public getting what it ought to be getting in exchange for exclusive monopoly rights?
The Court ruled that Pfizer did not meet the disclosure requirement. The Viagra patent lists different classes of compounds, and the wording of the patent did not specify which compound was useful to treat erectile dysfunction.
Although Patent ’446 includes the statement that “one of the especially preferred compounds induces penile erection in impotent males” (A.R., vol. X, at p. 173), the specification does not indicate that sildenafil is the effective compound, that Claim 7 contains the compound that works, or that the remaining compounds in the patent had been found not to be effective in treating ED. The claims were structured as “cascading claims”, with Claim 1 involving over 260 quintillion compounds, Claims 2 to 5 concerning progressively smaller groups of compounds, and Claims 6 and 7 each relating to an individual compound.
Pfizer defended itself by claiming that anybody just had to test the 2 final compounds and they’d figure it out. The SCC didn’t buy that and voided the patent.
[…]the public’s right to proper disclosure was denied in this case, since the claims ended with two individually claimed compounds, thereby obscuring the true invention. The disclosure failed to state in clear terms what the invention was. Pfizer gained a benefit from the Act — exclusive monopoly rights — while withholding disclosure in spite of its disclosure obligations under the Act. As a matter of policy and sound statutory interpretation, patentees cannot be allowed to “game” the system in this way. This, in my view, is the key issue in this appeal. It must be resolved against Pfizer.
The Viagra patent is set to expire in 2014, so the generic producers get at about a 2-year head start in the market.
I have to admit I have a strange fascination with small claims. The decisions are short and concise, and provide a very interesting look at the legal issues people run into. The judgements also provide very practical pointers regarding what needs to be done in a lawsuit, as even though it’s small claims, nobody is allowed to be sloppy.
I’m planning on making this a weekly instalment to be published on Sundays, although this week’s post is a little late. The only decision out this week is Zhang c. Liu.
The plaintiff claims $6 343,72 for renovation work on the defendant’s house. According to the plaintiff:
– The agreed price was $4000, a “friend’s price” since he knew the defendant
– The defendant has only paid $2000
– The market value of the work done is $8 343,72, which he is demanding (minus the $2000 paid)
The defendant claims:
– The agreed price was $2000, which she paid
– She later verbally informed the plaintiff of her dissatisfaction and demanded corrections
– Plaintiff then demanded $2000 for corrective work, which defendant refused to pay.
– Plaintiff demands the reimbursement of the $2000 she originally spent.
Result: the judge rejected both claims. Rules of proof requires a party to show their version is more likely than their opponent’s.
Problems with Plaintiff’s proof:
– No contract had been signed
– Contradictory proof on the nature, quality, extent, and price of the work.
– discrepancies in the Plaintiff’s version:
— the list of work done provided was inexact and some entries were doubled
— Plaintiff couldn’t explain how he came up with prices
— Plaintiff couldn’t tell when the work was done
— Plaintiff claimed price of materials, but had no receipts
Problems with Defendant’s proof:
– she testified and provided some photographs but no expert testimony.
– she had never notified plaintiff in writing about the poor job, or otherwise given him formal notice.
Voici le premier set de diagrammes en français, portant sur l’autorisation aux soins. Le code civil énonce le principe voulant que nul ne puisse porter atteinte à l’intégrité de la personne sans son consentement. Les soins médicaux constituent une atteinte. Il est donc nécessaire d’encadrer l’obtention du consentement.
Nous présentons ici 2 versions des articles 10 à 18 du CCQ portant sur le consentement aux soins.
Le premier diagramme présente les articles selon l’ordre et la structure du code.
Le deuxième diagramme reprend le style des deux colonnes (voir billet précédent). La colonne de gauche présente les règles concernant qui peut consentir, et la colonne de droite contient les modalités s’appliquant au consentement.
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This new set of diagrams are on consent to medical care. The Civil Code sets down the principle whereby no one may violate a person’s physical integrity without consent. Medical care are considered a violation, so it is necessary to get a person’s consent before providing care.
We have here 2 versions of articles 10 to 18 of the Civil Code of Qc, which are on consent to care.
The first diagram is a straightforward visualisation of the articles, closely following the CCQ’s order and structure.
The second diagram follows the two-column system put forward in the last post. The left column contains rules on who may give consent, and the right column, the conditions that applies to the consent. I believe the two-column system helps a lot in understanding how the various rules relate to each-other.
The first set of diagrams have just been posted, and can be found here: Order of devolution of successions.
This chapter in the Code deals with the distribution of a deceased’s assets in the absence of a will. This section is especially interesting to visualise, as the rules follow a strict logic, but are written in an awkward way.
We have two flowchart diagrams. The first one is a straightforward flowchart that respects the articles’ sequence and the structure of each article. The 2nd one is a digested version. If you analyse the chapter, you see 3 types of articles: definitions, rules about the proportion which groups of relatives inherit, and rules about how much each individual inherits.
The 2nd flowchart has definitions removed, and the 2 columns separate rules for groups of relatives and rules for individuals.
We have also made 3 other simple infographics based on the rules in this chapter.
Diagram representing the members of different groups of relatives defined in the Code.
Venn diagram showing share by group of surviving relative. Note: descendants have priority, so apply the other circles only if there are no descendants.
Simple version of the above diagram.
Lexagraph finally has its own home in the big big web, and hopefully we’re here to stay!
We had a tiny bit of a snafu 2 weeks ago as a system update by our host wiped out our new WordPress install, and of course nobody had any backups at that point. (These things always happen to me somehow.)
Hopefully everything will go well now!
Content should be uploaded shortly. :)