The Commission has closed its investigation into an alleged misuse of the patent system after German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Boehringer) and Spanish pharmaceutical company Almirall reached a voluntary settlement agreement.

Almirall had accused Boehringer of filing unmeritorious patent applications which would block or delay the entry to market of its own combination medicines and having a negative effect on its ability to market products based on the "mono-product", a new active substance discovered by Almirall but covered by Boehringer's patent applications in combination with other active substances.

The settlement agreement will remove the alleged blocking positions for Europe, grant a licence for two countries outside of Europe, and end all pending litigation between the parties.