- Details of past reports, etc.
According to past news reports as below, a request for granting a non-exclusive "compulsory" license for the public interest under Article 93 of the Patent Law was filed against the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) by Vision Care Inc. and VC Cell Therapy Inc. regarding Japatent Patent No. 6518878 (Name of Invention: "「網膜色素上皮細胞の製造方法」").
- Details of the case
According to the Patent Office Gazette 特許庁公報（公示号）（号数3 (2021)-008）, the request for the license was made on July 13, 2021, and the request number is "2021-1". The METI will consider whether the complusory license should be granted or not down the road.
- What is requests for a "compulsory" license based on public interest under Article 93 means?
According to the following information, "An arbitration system is a system that allows a third party to establish a right (compulsory license) to work another person's patented invention, etc., without the consent of the patentee, etc., or against the will of the patentee, etc., by an arbitration by the Commissioner of the Patent Office or the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry when certain requirements are met." In Japan, requests for compulsory licenses are allowed on the grounds of (1) non-practice of patent rights, (2) cross-licensing, and (3) public interest. Request for compulsory licenses on the grounds of public interest is last resort on these matters in a sense.
In addition, the procedures to grant the compulsory license are stipulated in the law and the following operational guidelines. However, since there are few actual cases, it is difficult to know how the system will proceed. Therefore, it is personally interesting to see how it will proceed.
- Progress in this time
When a request for compulsory license is made, the patentee, etc. is given an opportunity to submit a written argument. After that, the METI is legally required to hear the opinions of the Industrial Property Council. This time, the first meeting of the Industrial Property Council's Invention Licensing Subcommittee was held on December 2, 2021.
The minutes and abstracts of the meeting will not be made public, but there is information that it was decided to continue the discussion after the second meeting.
It's not often that we get a chance to see the progress of such request, so I will continue to pay attention to it.
Here is the Japanese version on this post.