Tagged: Biotech/Biotechnology

Northern District of California Relies on the Safe Harbor Defense of Section 271(e)(1) to Resolve Infringement Cases Early

Two recent decisions from the Northern District of California show courts’ willingness to dispose of cases early in litigation through the safe harbor defense. The safe harbor of Section 271(e)(1) allows competitors, before the expiration of a patent, to engage in otherwise infringing activities if the use is “reasonably related to” obtaining regulatory approval. These two decisions provide pre-litigation and litigation guidance for life science companies that manufacture regulated products such as drugs and medical devices. The Supreme Court has construed the safe harbor to apply to drugs as well as medical devices and other products subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Section 271(e)(1) of the Patent Act provides that: “It shall not be an act of infringement to make, use, offer to sell, or sell within the United States or import into the United States a patented invention … solely for uses reasonably related to the development and submission of information under a Federal law which regulates the manufacture, use, or sale of drugs or veterinary biological products.” In Carl Zeiss Meditec v. Topcon Medical Systems, the N.D. Cal. granted with prejudice a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s patent infringement claim based on product testing as barred by the safe harbor of § 271(e)(1). Carl Zeiss alleged that software testing by Topcon...

28 Days to Amend Contentions Following Disclosure of Preliminary Claim Constructions

In an interesting decision applying California’s Local Patent Rules, Northern District of California District Court Judge William Alsup held that “after receiving the other side’s preliminary claim construction disclosure under Rule 4-2, a party in a patent litigation must move promptly to disclose any back-up contentions it may wish (or eventually wish) to make for its infringement or invalidity case, in the event the other side’s claim construction is thereafter adopted or else any such back-up contentions will be deemed waived. Promptly means within 28 days at the latest.” Fluidigm Corp., et al. v. IONpath, Inc. at 4. Judge Alsup’s decision was his answer to “the question of the extent to which our patent local rules require infringement and invalidity contentions to set forth not only a party’s primary theory but also its backup theory in case its opponent’s claim construction prevails.” Id. at 1. In answering that question, Judge Alsup provided a brief exposition on California’s Local Patent Rules. “Before our local patent rules, parties struggled to determine the opposing party’s theory of liability via discovery requests, such as contentions interrogatories.” Id. at 6. The adoption of local patent rules “replaced the bone-crushing burden of scrutinizing and investigating discovery responses with the parties’ infringement and invalidity contentions.” In alleviating that burden, local patent rules...

FDA Will Now Provide More Data on 180-Day Exclusivity in the Orange Book

In a recent alert, the FDA announced that effective June 18, 2019, the Agency will publish additional data in the Orange Book Paragraph IV Certifications list. To enhance the already published data, the Orange Book will now include (1) the number of potential first applicants; (2) the 180-day decision date; (3) the date of the “first applicant” approval; (4) the date of first commercial marketing by any first applicant; and (5) the expiration date of the last qualifying patent. According to the FDA, the updated data listing comports with the Agency’s commitment under the Drug Competition Action Plan where the FDA “committed to enhancing efficiency of the development and approval of ANDAs, with the ultimate goal of more approvals.” Historically, the Orange Book Paragraph IV Certifications list has contained relevant information related to 180-day eligibility for generic drug products. Until recently, the listings included the name of the drug product, dosage form, dosage strength(s), the reference listed drug, the New Drug Application Number and the date upon which the first substantially complete application containing a Paragraph IV certification was submitted to the Agency. The new data will provide greater clarity to Hatch-Waxman litigants in a variety of ways. More specifically, with respect to the number of first applicants, the data will provide the number of...

Big Pharma Mutating from Small Molecules into Biotech Drugs

According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, the pharmaceutical industry, particularly Big Pharma, has decidedly changed course, shifting its R&D focus away from small molecule drugs towards biotech products. Such biotech products are muscling out small molecules’ prior domination of the top 10 drug product sales. For example, in 2012, biotech products accounted for 71% of the revenues generated by the world’s top selling biopharmaceutical products. This remarkable growth mirrors the successful evolution of biotech research over the last three decades. Drilling down further, the Tufts Report notes that monoclonal antibody (mAb) biotech products saw the largest increase in growth over the last decade and now account for almost 60% of the biotech products being clinically developed by the largest pharmaceutical companies.

First Biosimilars Ruling is Out … Industry, Take Heed!

In a decision of first impression, Judge Maxine M. Chesney of the Northern District of California dismissed Sandoz’s declaratory judgment action against Amgen for lack of jurisdiction. Sandoz had brought its suit on June 24, 2013 seeking a ruling that its biosimilar version of Amgen’s patented arthritis drug Enbrel (etanercept) would not infringe and that the patents are invalid. Amgen moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction or, alternatively, to decline to exercise Declaratory Judgment jurisdiction.

California Moves to Limit Biosimilar Substitution

California Senate Bill 598, which would prohibit pharmacists from substituting biosimilars for a prescribed biologic, unless the biosimilar is an interchangeable product which would not need physician consent or if the biosimilar exceeds the cost of the brand-name drug, recently passed the California State Assembly by a vote of 58-4. The bill which has since passed the Ca. State Senate by a vote of 30-2 has yet to be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and has prompted extensive lobbying efforts both in support of and against its passage.

GAO Report Fails to Make it “Open Season” on Trolls

We have reported frequently in the past on IP law developments relating to so-called Nonpracticing Entities, or NPEs, including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act’s mandate that the Government Accounting Office (“GAO”) conduct a study on the consequences of patent litigation by NPEs. On August 22, the GAO issued its 54-page Report, “Intellectual Property: Assessing Factors That Affect Patent Infringement Litigation Could Help Improve Patent Quality” (hereafter, “Report”). In view of the GAO’s mandate, some of the Report’s findings are surprising.

Jersey Strong: Biotech’s Continuing Strength in New Jersey

According to a recent e-mail alert by BioNJ, some of the top Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical companies in the world call New Jersey home, just as other Life Sciences and high tech businesses continue to move into the Garden State. As a corollary, New Jersey boasts one of the top ten regions for recent STEM graduates to work, and venture capital investing in the technology sector grew in the second quarter of 2013.

Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett

The generic pharmaceutical industry faced a Catch-22 when a serious adverse reaction arose from use of a generic drug product, and the manufacturer was restrained from unilaterally amending the product label to conform to state requirements, due to the Supreme Court’s decision in PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, 131 S.Ct. 2567 (2011). PLIVA held that state requirements to change a label are pre-empted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act’s prohibition of changing labeling without authorization by the FDA.

Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology Files Amicus Brief in “Pay-for-Delay” Case Before Supreme Court

We previously reported on the battle over so-called “pay-for-delay” settlements, which puts the pharmaceutical industry versus the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) before the Supreme Court, to decide the legality of reverse payments in Hatch-Waxman cases. The case is FTC v. Actavis, Inc., et al. Last week, the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology, among 16 other amici, filed briefs in support of respondents and the lawfulness of these payments. The other amici included: Antitrust Economists; Bayer AG and Bayer Corp.; Health Economics and Law Professors; Mediation and Negotiation Professionals; Law Professors Gregory Dolin, Kent Bernard, et al.; The American Intellectual Property Law Association; Enavail, LLC; The Generic Pharmaceutical Association]; Intellectual Property Owners Association; Merck & Co., Inc.; National Association of Manufacturers; Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (Phrma); New York Intellectual Property Law Association; Shire plc; Washington Legal Foundation; Generic Manufacturers Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and Impax Laboratories, Inc.