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ECJ says safeners eligible for extended patents

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has concluded that EU supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) for agrochemicals may cover safeners. In the rules, the terms, “product” and “active substances”, must be interpreted as meaning that they may cover a substance intended to be used as a safener, where that substance has a toxic, phytotoxic or plant protection action of its own, says the Court. Its preliminary ruling was delivered in response to a request from a German court in a case brought by Bayer CropScience. The company is challenging a decision by the German patent office to refuse a certificate for its safener, isoxadifen.

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