A patent opposition is a recourse by which any interested party may contest the validity of a patent at the office that issued it. It has already been used by civil society in other countries (India, Brazil, United States) to get abusive patents removed and to authorise the production of more affordable generic medecine.
In 2015, for the first time in Europe, a medical NGO used this juridical tool to improve patients access to treatment. The rationing in France and Europe led Doctors of the World to review the technical content of Gilead’s patent on sofosbuvir. While using sofosbuvir to treat hepatitis C is a major therapeutic advance, the molecule itself does not merit a patent because it relies on existing and commonly practised techniques in the pharmaceutical field.
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Gilead patent on sofosbuvir was partially maintained following Doctors of the World patent opposition. Read here about the decision of the European Patent Office.