Newsflash – Australian High Court confirms methods of treatment are patentable

Article  \  4 Dec 2013

Today the High Court of Australia released its decision in Apotex Pty Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Australia Pty Ltd.  The key issue under consideration was whether methods of medical treatment were patentable subject matter.  Surprisingly, this issue had never been considered by Australia's top court before now. 

The Court split 4-1 over the issue, but the majority confirmed that methods of medical treatment of humans can fall within the scope of a manner of new manufacture.  As a result, this decision confirms long-standing practice in Australia. Methods of medical treatment therefore remain patentable subject matter under Australian law.  Apotex's challenge to the validity of Sanofi-Aventis's patent therefore failed. 

The second part of Apotex's appeal was more successful, with the Court overturning the Federal Court's decision that Apotex had infringed Sanofi-Aventis's patent.  

A comprehensive analysis of the Court's decision will follow soon.