Can you patent the medical use of an inactive ingredient?

In this article, Henrik Skødt explains a recent decision from the EPO, in which the Board of Appeal clarified the meaning of ”substance or composition” for a second medical use and whether it may be an inactive ingredient.

An application concerning the medical use of an inactive ingredient was refused for lack of novelty, but the Board disagreed and referred to the chemical nature of the ingredient being more important than whether it was an active ingredient.

The decision is encouraging to applicants in the medical field.