Posts Tagged ‘biotechnology law’

Fed. Cir.: Antitrust Issues Can Arise From Hatch-Waxman Litigation

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In Tyco Healthcare Group v. Mutual Pharm. Co., App. no. 13-1386 (Fed. Cir. August 6, 2014), a divided panel of the court reversed a district court’s summary judgment ruling dismissing antitrust charges brought by ANDA filer Mutual against patent-holder Tyco. (A copy of the decision can be found at the end of this post.) In what appears to be routine Hatch-Waxman litigation, the majority of the panel ruled that the NDA holder’s (the patent-holder’s) initiation of an infringement action following the ANDA filer’s para. IV certification could give rise to antitrust violations as “sham litigation.” The majority further held that the Citizen’s Petition–urged to contain baseless allegations of non-equivalence, filed by the NDA holder, following a finding of non-infringement by the proposed generic product, could also give rise to antitrust liability.

Judge Newman wrote a well-reasoned dissent that basically said that the patent/NDA holder has a statutory right to file an infringement suit after it receives notice of an ANDA filed with a para. IV certification. Judge Newman also wrote that the patent/NDA holder has a constitutional right (to petition), that should trump any speculative antitrust-based claims for damages.

It would take pages to walk through all the factual bases for the parties’ arguments, but if you just read Judge Newman’s dissent, you will get a good refresher course on the historically (limited) role of antitrust law in patent litigation. Maybe I’m getting too sensitive, but this seems like one more decision that is essentially anti-patent. At least the majority followed Therasense and did not find that plaintiff potentially liable for antitrust violations because it asserted a patent that the defendant urged was obtained by fraud committed by the patent owner, Sandoz.

13-1386.Opinion.7-31-2014.1

Ignorance is Bliss – for Teva

Monday, August 4th, 2014

I did not pay much attention to the fairly recent panel decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Teva Pharma. USA, 757 F.3d 967 (Fed. Cir. 2014). It seemed like a fairly routine panel affirmance of the district court’s finding that Bristol-Myers’ patent (5206244) on the nucleoside analog entecavir was obvious in view of a structurally similar nucleoside analog, 2′-CDG. The unexpected results asserted by B-M had been found insufficient to overcome a strong case of structural obviousness.

But when the IPO made the decision to file an amicus brief supporting B-M’s petition for rehearing en banc, my prep/pros radar sounded a warning and I read both the brief closely and the original opinion more closely. [A copy of the opinion and brief can be found at the end of this post.]

The district court found that the POSA would have been motivated to select 2′-CDG as the closest prior art molecule and to make the relatively small structural modifications required to arrive at entecavir, summarizing the law (correctly): “Obviousness, and expectation of success, are evaluated from the perspective of a person having ordinary skill in the art at the time of invention [e.g., the filing date of the B-M patent].”

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USPTO TRIPs over Myriad-Mayo guidance

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Timothy W. Roberts, Chartered Patent Attorney; MA (Oxon); LL.D (honoris causa, Sheffield University)

Paul G. Cole,  Chartered Patent Attorney;  MA (Oxon); LLM, NottinghamTrent; Visiting Professor, Bournemouth University

The above UK-based European Practitioners have today filed comments at the USPTO arguing that the USPTO’s Myriad-Mayo Guidance is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 27 of the TRIPs Agreement.

They argue that the ruling of Justice Thomas in Myriad is TRIPs-compliant only on the narrow holding that mere isolation of a DNA sequence unaccompanied by new, improved or extended utility does not give rise to eligibility. Any broader interpretation of the ruling e.g. to exclude natural products selected or isolated by the hand of man and possessing new or improved utility would be inconsistent with the express provisions of the Agreement. It will be recollected that Justice Ginsburg during oral argument in Myriad was concerned that the US was at risk of adopting a rule quite different from that of other industrialised nations and would be placing itself in an isolated position. Only the suggested interpretation, they argue,  would avoid those concerns, and they submit that the Court had these considerations in mind when it handed down its limited and cautious opinion in Myriad.

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FDA Accepts First Biosimilar Application for Review

Monday, July 28th, 2014

In an important step forward for the introduction of “generic biological,” the FDA announced that it has accepted Sandoz’s application to market a generic version of Amgen’s Neupogen®, which stimulates white blood cell production. As you may recall, about two years ago, the FDA was authorized to permit generic biologicals in a section of “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act), but final rules have not yet been promulgated. Since Neupogen is not “under patent” or NCE exclusivity in the U.S. this can roughly be analogized to a Para. III ANDA filing. With many other applications in progress, we will have to see how rough this gets.

Read more here.