Tuesday, 16 March 2010

G 1/07 - Treatment by surgery

Case: G1/07, Medi-Physics, Inc.

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office has recently issued their decision in referral G1/07, about the interpretation of the expression "methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery". Such methods are excluded from patentability according to Art. 53(c) EPC 2000. The application which is the subject of the referring decision is about an imaging method in which Xe-129 is used as a contrast agent. The scope of the claims encompasses an injection of polarized Xe-129 into the heart.

In the decision, the Enlarged Board makes some interesting remarks First, it is stated in the decision that the Vienna Convention does not provide a general principle of narrow interpretation of exclusions from patentability. Rather, the Vienna Convention gives the general rule that a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.