Swiss Competition Authority Carries out Dawn Raid in Probe regarding Possible Abuse of Patent Rights
On Tuesday 13 September, the Swiss Competition Authority carried out a dawn raid to collect evidence in a probe regarding a possible abuse of a dominant position in relation to dermatological medication (see, today’s attached press release in three languages). According to press reports, Novartis acknowledged to be the target of the investigation.
The inquiry focuses on the possibly abusive initiation of patent litigation to thwart competing products. The press release refers to the use of a “blocking patent” which may mean the deployment of a patent to prevent another patent from being used because that other patent relies on technology covered by the first. The Swiss Competition Authority’s move is unusual in that exercising valid patent rights does not normally amount to an abuse of a dominant position.
The Swiss Competition Authority says it has cooperated on this matter with the European Commission pursuant to the bilateral agreement between the European Union and Switzerland on the application of the competition rules.