Category: Pharmaceuticals

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to Promote Innovation in Biotechnology

On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement in principle to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes provisions governing the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This blog post will cover the IP provisions of the USMCA, particularly as applied to pharmaceuticals and biologics. It’s important to note that the provisions of the USMCA prescribe a minimum requirement, some of which is already met or surpassed by the individual countries’ respective patent regimes. 1. Data protection for biologics Under Article 20.F.14, each country must provide, with respect “to the first marketing approval” of a product that “is or contains a biologic,” protection of undisclosed test or other data concerning the safety and efficacy of the product for “a period of at least ten years from the date of first marketing approval of that product.” This ten-year data exclusivity applies “at a minimum” to “a product that is produced using biotechnology processes and that is, or, alternatively, contains, a virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product, protein, or analogous product, for use in human beings for the prevention, treatment, or cure of a disease or condition.” Under Article 20.K.1, this provision need not be implemented until...

Patent Infringement Defendants’ Attempt to Transfer Venue Thwarted

In federal cases, venue transfer is permitted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice . . . to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented.” The defendants in a patent infringement case venued in the District of New Jersey recently failed in their attempt to transfer venue of their cases to the District of Delaware pursuant to § 1404(a). The cases involve the alleged infringement of a patent that covers Suboxone sublingual film for the treatment of opioid dependence. The defendants argued that venue transfer was appropriate based on their consent to venue in Delaware, the discretionary factors outlined in Jumara v. State Farm Insurance, 55 F.3d 873 (3d Cir. 1995), and the first-filed rule. None of these arguments proved successful, as the magistrate judge issued reports and recommendations denying the motions of defendants Dr. Reddy’s, Teva, and Alvogen Pine Brook. And, the district judge affirmed and adopted the magistrate judge’s opinions. After first concluding that venue for the cases was proper in the District of New Jersey pursuant to the patent venue statue, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), the court turned to the defendants’ arguments for transfer. With respect...

Stronger Patents Act Introduced in House of Representatives

On April 3, 2018, Representatives Steve Stivers and Bill Foster introduced H.R. 5340, entitled Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act implementation. This legislation parallels legislation introduced by Senators Chris Coons and Tom Cotton last year. This bill was introduced because its sponsors believe that the U.S. has driven innovation away with issues that particularly relate to the America Invents Act (AIA). The bill has the following portions in Section 102: Section A – Requires the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to use the same standard as District Courts when deciding what inventions the patent covers – claim construction. Currently, the PTAB uses the broadest reasonable interpretation standard and does not consider all of the evidence of a valid patent claim. Section B – Requires the PTAB to use the same burden of proof – clear and convincing evidence – that is used by District Courts. Right now, the PTAB uses the preponderance of the evidence standard. Section C – Ensures that a petitioner has a business or financial reason to bring the case before the PTAB. This is in direct response to the stockholder suits that have been brought in the PTAB against certain companies. Section D – Authorizes the United States Patent and Trademark Office...

What are “Acts of Infringement” and Where is “A Regular and Established Place of Business” for a Hatch-Waxman Defendant: The District of Delaware Weighs in on the Patent Venue Rule

We previously reported on the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, in which the Supreme Court created a new patent venue rule. The patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), provides that patent infringement suits “may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.” In TC Heartland, the Supreme Court held that “[a]s applied to domestic corporations, ‘reside[nce] in § 1400(b) refers only to the State of incorporation.” A Delaware District Court recently considered the provision of the patent venue statute not addressed by TC Heartland – where venue is proper if a “defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business” in the context of a defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue. In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., a patent infringement matter brought under the Hatch-Waxman statute and filed before the TC Heartland decision, the parties did not dispute that, in light of TC Heartland, the defendant, a West Virginia corporation, could not be said to “reside” in Delaware. Thus, venue would be proper in Delaware only if the defendant committed act of infringement in Delaware and had a...

Constitutionality of IPRs and PGPs

Recently, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Oil States Energy Services v. Green’s Energy Group, Case 16-712 that may have implications on the constitutionality of America Invents Act (AIA) patent review proceedings such as Inter Partes Review (IPRs) and Post Grant Proceedings (PGPs). The case being reviewed involved a fracking patent granted to Oil States. Green’s Energy petitioned to have the Oil States patent reviewed in an IPR (6,179,053). The IPR resulted in the Oil States patent claims being held unpatentable. But, upon review at the Federal Circuit, Oil States challenged the decision and added that IPRs were not allowed under Article III and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. In particular, the Oil States argument advanced that the patents must be tried before a jury because invalidity of patent claims traditionally have been a jury issue before a court of competent jurisdiction. The Oil States argument then indicated that Congress could not delegate that right to an administrative agency. The Federal Circuit affirmed the USPTO’s IPR decision of invalidity, without the issuance of an opinion. Following that decision, Oil States petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court regarding three issues. The one issue was whether IPR was in violation of the Constitution’s Article III provision since there was no jury trial adjudication of the...

Natural Phenomenon Takes Back Seat to Analysis

In a recent decision of the CAFC entitled Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., et al, a consolidated appeal of cases 2015-2066, 2016-1008, 2016-1009, 2016-1010, 2016-1109, 2016-1110, 2016-1283, and 2016-1762, decided July 17, 2017, Judge Newman writing the opinion for a unanimous panel reversed a decision of the District Court for the District of Delaware holding the patent (US 6,713,446) on the cancer drug Velcade® invalid for obviousness. That drug had been used clinically to successfully treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell myeloma. The active moiety in Velcade® was the compound D-mannitol N-(2-Pyrazine)carbonyl-L-phenylalanine-L-leucine boronate. That compound arose as a result of a yearlong quest to solve the instability problem with solutions of the non-sugar containing bortezomib compound. When the inventor of the ‘446 patent (a scientist at the NCI and the University of Kansas) lyophilized bortezomib in the presence of mannitol he obtained the aforesaid boronate which had covalently incorporated the mannitol producing a new compound. This compound proved to be not only stabile on storage and in solution but also when administered to a subject functioned as a prodrug for bortezomib. No prior art was presented that taught or suggested a compound whose structure presented a basis for an obvious rejection using standard analysis of a pharmaceutical compound claim. In the District Court case,...

Chief Justice Roberts Recuses Himself From Life Tech Case

An interesting event has occurred at the Supreme Court in the Life Technologies Corp (Life Tech) v. Promega Corp. (Promega) case (136 S.Ct. 2505 (2016)). Chief Justice Roberts recused himself from the deliberations of the case on January 4, 2017. In order to understand why the events played out the way they did, a brief synopsis of the case is being provided.

Brexit Raises Questions About the Future of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

Recently, the UK voted to leave the EU. However, that has not happened yet for several reasons. The first reason is that the referendum actually needs to be voted on by Parliament, adopting the results of the referendum vote. A second reason is that withdrawal from the EU occurs when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is enacted. Neither one of these two items has occurred. If Parliament agrees to follow the referendum outcome and votes to leave the EU, and if the UK gives notice under Article 50, then many trade agreements and treaties will need to be negotiated in a two-year period from date of notification.

Federal Circuit Overturns Supplemental Jurisdiction Over Claims of Breach of Fiduciary Duty

In a recent decision from the Federal Circuit in AngioScore, Inc. v. TriREME Medical LLC et al. the court found that a plaintiff’s claim for patent infringement and breach of fiduciary duty did not have the requisite “common nucleus of operative fact” for the district court to maintain supplemental jurisdiction over breach of fiduciary duty claims. In particular, this decision provided the Federal Circuit a rare opportunity to review the jurisdiction limits of a district court in a case involving federal patent infringement claims and state law claims for breach of fiduciary duty aiding and abetting and unfair competition by an independent director and companies he co-founded which developed a competitive product to a product marketed by the plaintiff corporation AngioScore, Inc.

New Jersey Follows Federal Circuit in Finding Jurisdiction Over Hatch-Waxman Defendants

We recently reported on the Federal Circuit’s holdings in Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Mylan Pharm. Inc. and AstraZeneca AB v. Mylan Pharm., Inc., where it held that Mylan was subject to jurisdiction in Delaware because “Mylan’s ANDA filings constitute formal acts that reliably indicate plans to engage in marketing of the proposed generic drugs.” Earlier this month, the first decision from the District of New Jersey District applying the Federal Circuits ruling was rendered. In Helsinn Healthcare S.A., et al. v. Hospira, Inc., No. 15-2077 (MLC), 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45826 (D.N.J. April 5, 2016), Judge Mary L. Cooper held that sufficient minimum contacts is to find specific jurisdiction is established by the fact that Hospira filed an ANDA seeking to market a generic version of Helsinn’s Aloxi® product that if approved, the marketing of will take place in New Jersey.