The UK Supreme Court today handed down its unanimous decision in Actavis v ICOS.

The case confirms that the assessment of obviousness in relation to dosage patents requires a multifactorial and fact-specific approach, in which the commonly used tests (Windsurfing/Pozzoli and the EPO’s problem/solution approach) are merely glosses on the statutory requirement that an invention involves an inventive step if it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art, having regard to any matter which forms part of the state of the art.

Of particular interest, the Supreme Court confirmed that there was no general proposition that the product of well-established or routine enquiries cannot be inventive, rather, that “efficacious drugs discovered by research involving standard pre-clinical and clinical tests should be rewarded with a patent if they meet the statutory tests”.

Bristows LLP acted for the IP Federation, an intervener in the case.