Beecham Group Ltd v Bristol Myers Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeO'HIGGINS C,J.
Judgment Date15 February 1983
Neutral Citation1983 WJSC-SC 14
Docket Number[S.C. No. 208 of 1981]
Date15 February 1983

1983 WJSC-SC 14

THE SUPREME COURT

O'Higgine C.J.

Walsh J.

Henchy J.

Griffin J.

Hamilton J.

208/1981
BEECHAM GROUP v. BRISTOL MYERS
IN THE MATTER OF THE PATENTS ACT 1964

BETWEEN

BRECHAM GROUP LIMITED
Applicants/Appellants

and

BRISTOL MYERS COMPANY
HIGH - 1979/328 sp.-COTELLO -13.3.81
Appellants/Respondents

Subject Headings:

PATENT: appeal

PRACTICE: appeal

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION: ordinary meaning

SUPREME COURT: appeal

1

JUDGMENT delivered the 15th day of February 1983by O'HIGGINS C,J.

2

This Motion has been brought by the Respondents, for an Order striking out the Appellants' Appeal on the grounds that it is hot entertainable by this Court having regard to the provisions of section 75(7) of the Patents Act 1964.

3

In order to deal with the issue which is thus raised it is necessary to examine briefly some of the main provisions of the Act and then to consider the particular provisions contained in section 75(7). The Patent Act 1974 replaces the Industrial and Commercial Property(Protection) Act 1927as the legislation which provides in this country for the registration of patents of inventions. The scheme of the Act provides for the establishment of the Patents Office which is under the immediate control of the Controller of Industrial and Commercial Property (hereinafter referred to as the Controller). Applications for a patent may be made by any person who claims to be the true and first inventor of an invention or that the true and first inventor has assigned to him the right to make the application. The Controller is given wide powers to decide various matters which arise on such applications both in relation to their initial screening or examination in the Patent Office and following the publication of the completed specification, the lodging of objections, if any, up to and including the granting and sealing of the patent. These powers of decision in relation to such applications and associated matters are contained in sections 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 30 and 31 of the Act. Apart from these specific powers to decide matters concerning applications the Controlleris given under section 15 an overriding power to refuse any application in respect of which the grounds specified in that section appear to be established. These grounds relate to claims for inventions which are contrary to well-established natural laws or the use of which would be contrary to public order or morality or which consist of a substance to be used as a food or medicine which is merely a mixture of known ingredients or a process producing such a substance by admixture. In respect of decisions made by the Controller under any of these sections an appeal may be brought to the High Court under section 75 of the Act. The Controller is also given powers to deal with and to decide various matters which arise in relation to patents which have already been granted and in relation to the amendment of the Register of Patents. These powers, some of which are shared with the Court, are contained in other sections of the Act. Each of these sections also provides for an appeal from the Controller's decision to the High Court, and such appeal is to be determined in accordance with theprovisions of section 75.

4

It is apparent from the foregoing summary of the provisions of the Act that the Controller's decisions, all of which are appealable to the High Court, can be divided into two categories - those relating to applications for patents and those relating to patents already granted. It is now necessary to turn to...

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