Chapter 4: Therapeutic Methods
A INTRODUCTION Article 53(c) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) did not fundamentally change the substance of the exclusion of methods of medical treatment from patent protection found in Article 52(4) EPC.1 Article 53(c) EPC, like Article 52(4) EPC, includes an exclusion relating to a ‘method for treatment of the human or animal body by … therapy’.2 This exclusion does not apply to products used in any of the excluded methods of medical 1 This article was previously Article 52(4) EPC 1973. With the entry into force of the EPC 2000, on 13 December 2007, Article 52(4) EPC has been replaced by Article 53(c) EPC 2000. The content of the exclusion of methods of medical treatment remains unchanged, but the juridical basis of the exclusion found in Article 52(4) EPC has been excised from the new formulation of the exclusion found in Article 53(c) EPC. The drafters of the EPC 2000 made it clear that ‘[a] change in the EPO’s current practice regarding these inventions is not envisaged’ as a result (The Basic Proposal for the Revision of the European Patent Convention, 13 October 2000, Article 53 EPC, Explanatory Remarks, at para. 3). The juridical basis of the exclusion as lacking industrial application is notably absent in Article 53(c) EPC. So, although the previous legal basis of the exclusion has been excised, the jurisprudence relating to Article 52(4) EPC will, for the most part, remain applicable under the new Article...
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