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Life Sciences



Members of 8 New Square have vast experience in handling disputes in the life sciences field, and many members of chambers have technical backgrounds in that area. The litigation which we conduct principally relates to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device patents, but also includes contractual and regulatory disputes.


Disputes about pharmaceutical patents have contributed a significant proportion of the litigation handled by members of chambers over recent years.  By way of example, members of 8 New Square were involved in the Generics v Lundbeck (escitalopram) litigation which reached the House of Lords and in the following cases which have reached the Court of Appeal since 2005: Dr Reddy’s v Eli Lilly (olanzapine), Actavis v Novartis (CR fluvastatin), Actavis v Merck (finasteride), Generics v Daiichi (levofloxacin), Napp v ratiopharm (CR oxycodone), Leo v Sandoz (calcipotriol), Servier v Apotex( perindopril), Novartis v Ivax (cyclosporine microemulsion), GSK v Genentech (EGFR) and Ranbaxy v Warner-Lambert  (atorvastatin). Members of chambers also appear in the EPO, including before the Enlarged Board of Appeal: G2/08 Abbott.

Disputes about SPCs are becoming increasingly common and members of chambers have considerable experience in this area, appearing both in the UK courts and in the Court of Justice – cases include Merck, Wellcome, BASF, Yissum, Takeda, Gilead, Astellas, Georgetown Univ. and Daiichi Sankyo.

Members of 8 New Square have also been involved in both of the leading recent cases concerning claims by inventor employees to benefit from their employer’s pharmaceutical patents – Kelly v GE and Shanks v Unilever.


Members of chambers have been involved in nearly all the significant biotechnology patent litigation in the UK, from the very first case (Genentech - tPA), through Chiron (HCV) and the first to reach the House of Lords (Biogen - HBV) to Kirin-Amgen (erythropoietin). 

More recently, members of chambers have acted in Yeda v Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (the entitlement dispute which reached the House of Lords), Eli Lilly v HGS (the leading UK case on industrial application of biotech inventions, now under appeal to the Supreme Court), Monsanto v Cargill (part of trans-national litigation on imported GM soymeal) and Intervet v Merial (porcine circovirus).

Members of chambers have also acted in biotech cases before the EPO, including disputes as to whether inventions were unpatentable because they related to plant or animal varieties or because they were contrary to morality: see T356/93 Plant Genetic SystemsT315/03 Harvard Univ. (oncomouse) & G2/06 Wisconsin (stem cells).

Medical devices

Members of 8 New Square have been involved in numerous disputes about patents for medical devices, including coronary stents and other devices for treatment of the cardiovascular system (Conor v AngiotechAbbott v EvysioOcclutech v AGACook v EdwardsAbbott v Medinol), contact lenses (Novartis v J&J) and wound therapy devices (Wake Forest v Smith & Nephew, Mölnlycke v Wake ForestKCI v Smith & Nephew).

Contractual disputes and arbitrations

Members of chambers are regularly involved in disputes concerning licensing of intellectual property rights. In the life sciences area these have included CAT v Abbott and Celltech v MedImmune (both concerning antibody engineering technology). Members of chambers have also been involved in significant arbitrations in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology field.

Regulatory disputes

Members of 8 New Square have experience of disputes over regulatory decisions in the life sciences field.  Cases include judicial review proceedings in relation to decisions to grant or refuse licences in respect of pharmaceutical or agrochemical products – R v MCA ex p. Smith & NephewR v MCA ex p. Rhône Poulenc RorerR v MAFF ex p. Monsanto – but also in relation to decisions to grant approval to grow GM crops – R v S of S for the Environment & MAFF ex p. Watson.

Plant breeders' rights

Litigation in this field is relatively rare, but when it does occur chambers tends to be involved: see Germinal v Fell (grass seed) and, in a related field, Munoz v Frumar (grape varieties).