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European Commission is Investigating Boehringer Ingelheim


Ingelheim/Germany – The Commission of the European Communities, Directorate-General for Competition, informed Boehringer Ingelheim that proceedings would be initiated under Article 82 EC Treaty. The reason is to investigate whether Boehringer Ingelheim is “misusing the patent system in order to exclude potential competition in drugs to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”

As early as in July 2006 an investigation at two Boehringer Ingelheim sites in Germany had taken place. Until today Boehringer Ingelheim has received scarce information on the precise accusations the European Commission is investigating. Article 82 of the EC Treaty requires among others conditions a market dominant position and an abuse of such market dominant position. Boehringer Ingelheim is convinced that none of those two conditions apply to Boehringer Ingelheim. Firstly, Boehringer Ingelheim does not hold a market dominant position with its products in the respiratory or COPD area. Secondly, Boehringer Ingelheim has not abused any alleged market dominant position. Apparently the Commission is taking an issue with certain patents filed by Boehringer Ingelheim for COPD treatments. As all other companies in research-driven industries, Boehringer Ingelheim files patents for innovative products and technologies in order to be able to protect intellectual property and therefore finance its own research and development on the long run.

In its notification the Commission informed Boehringer Ingelheim that “the initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has conclusive proof of an infringement but merely signifies that the Commission will deal with the case as a matter of priority.

Boehringer Ingelheim has fully cooperated with the European authorities and is convinced that it can be proven that the company has complied with all rules and obligations.


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