Posts Tagged: "hatch-waxman"

Why should we encourage generics to challenge pharma patents?

What was the federal government thinking when Hatch-Waxman originally passed. Why would Congress incentivize generic manufacturers to challenge the patents of pharmaceutical companies? It is the same insidious thought process underlying Hatch-Waxman seen underlying the justification for post grant challenges of all patents at the USPTO. How absurd is it that those who question the need for incentive to innovate are so eager to provide incentive to challenge patents?

Senator Hatch files Amendment to Fix IPRs for Pharma, Save Hatch-Waxman

Late yesterday, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), co-author of the Hatch-Waxman Act, filed an amendment in the Senate Judiciary Committee to address what many characterize as abusive inter partes review (IPR) filings relating to brand name pharmaceuticals. According to Senator Hatch, his amendment is intended to restore the careful balance the Hatch-Waxman Act struck to incentivize generic drug development. The Hatch-Waxman Act encourages generic drug manufacturers to challenge patents of brand name drugs by filing Abbreviated New Drug Applications with the Food and Drug Administration, which can and typically does result in patent infringement litigation in federal district court.

Patent Litigation Shows Shift Towards Delaware, Decrease in High-Volume Plaintiff Filings

Legal data analytics provider Lex Machina recently published a post featuring data points regarding the filing of patent infringement cases in the year following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands. In that decision, the Court held that the patent venue statute (28 U.S.C. § 1400(b)) meant that domestic companies could only file patent infringement suits in the judicial district where they were incorporated. Lex Machina’s one-year data update shows that TC Heartland has toppled the Eastern District of Texas as the top forum for patent infringement filings among U.S. district courts. The decision has also affected the filing behaviors of high-volume plaintiffs (HVPs), or those entities filing 10 or more patent infringement cases in U.S. district courts within one calendar year.

Federal Circuit confirms validity of patent for UCB’s Vimpat®

Appellants were generic drug manufacturers who filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications (“ANDAs”), seeking approval for generic versions of Vimpat®. As a result, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ultimate conclusion that the asserted claims were not invalid.

China extends drug patent exclusivity to 25 years

Among members of the news media, patents have been a popular whipping boy when contemplating why Americans pay higher drug prices relative to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese national government extended the period of exclusivity on pharmaceutical patents from 20 years up to 25 years. While China makes moves to embrace further innovation in the pharmaceutical sector by extending exclusivity for drug developers, the United States has evidenced an incredible amount of skepticism regarding the activities of pharmaceutical patent owners trying to protect their property.

Vanda v. West-Ward: This Time, Dosage Adjustment Claims are Patent Eligible Subject Matter

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, No. 2016-2707, addresses the complicated topic of patent eligibility in the pharmaceutical space. Much of the decision compares Vanda’s claims to those found ineligible for patent protection in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012). While the ultimate patentability conclusions are opposite, the claims in Vanda and Mayo are very similar, highlighting the thin—and often unpredictable—line that divides eligible and ineligible subject matter. Generic drug manufacturers must account for this unpredictability in gauging their litigation risks.

Hatch-Waxman Litigation: 60 Percent Increase in ANDA Lawsuits from 2016 to 2017

In 2017, U.S. district courts saw a total of 417 patent infringement suits related to ANDA filings made by drugmakers with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking to bring generic versions of brand-name pharmaceuticals to the U.S. market. This total number of ANDA cases was below recent highs set in 2014 (437 cases) and 2015 (475 cases) but it was also a significant increase over the 324 ANDA cases filed in 2016. Going back to 2009, 2017 saw the third-highest number of ANDA cases in a single year. The fact that ANDA litigation is rising is pretty consistent with the number of ANDA applications being received by the FDA. In 2017, the FDA approved a record number of ANDAs with 763 such approvals that year; the agency attributed this uptick to an increased number of agency hires.

USPTO Director Andrei Iancu Discusses Patentability of Algorithms, PTAB Proceedings at Senate Judiciary Committee

Sen. Harris followed up by asking whether algorithms were mathematical representations of laws of nature. “You’re getting right to the heart of the issue,” Iancu said. What Iancu said after that should be a major breath of fresh air to inventors and patent owners frustrated by Section 101 validity issues in the wake of Alice and Mayo: “This is one place where I believe courts have gone off the initial intent. There are human-made algorithms, human-made algorithms that are the result of human ingenuity that are not set from time immemorial and that are not absolutes, they depend on human choices. Those are very different from E=mc2 and they are very different from the Pythagorean theorem, for example.”

The Abuse of Orange Book Listings by Branded Pharmaceutical Companies

AbbVie’s maneuver worked like clockwork to induce regulatory gridlock, which prevented generic competition and kept the company’s profits high at public expense, for years. Fortunately, the FTC would have none of it. The agency filed suit against AbbVie in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2014, accusing the company of illegal monopolization under the antitrust laws. The gravamen of the FTC’s complaint was that AbbVie wrongfully filed objectively-baseless sham litigations, to block generic competition.

Celgene’s New Revlimid® Lawsuits Shows Shifting Tactics From Earlier Natco Case

Celgene faces a new gang of generics moving in on its blockbuster Revlimid®.  Over the past year, a number of generics have filed ANDAs against Revlimid®, including Dr. Reddy’s, Zydus, Cipla, and Lotus Pharmaceutical.  Those ANDAs have triggered corresponding Hatch-Waxman lawsuits from Celgene.  Among the asserted patents, most of them expire by 2022, with the exception of two polymorph patents that could extend Revlimid® monopoly until 2027.  The lawsuits are in their early stages, but an upcoming Markman hearing in the case against Dr. Reddy’s is shaping up to be critical to whether Celgene can protect is Revlimid® monopoly past 2022.

Merck Process for Stabilizing Antibiotic Compound Invalid as Obvious

The District of Delaware found that one of two patents asserted by Merck was not invalid and infringed, and the other patent, while infringed, was invalid as obvious. Merck appealed the conclusion of invalidity. The Federal Circuit affirmed… If the strongest evidence of nonobviousness are objective indicia, it is critical for the patentee to persuade the finder of fact that all four Graham factors need to be evaluated contemporaneously in making an obviousness determination.

Double jeopardy at the PTAB forces Allergan and others to seek sovereign immunity defenses

The PTAB subjects all patent owners to double jeopardy, but the situation is particularly bad for pharmaceutical companies which already have to face a Congressionally-mandated validity review process under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, colloquially known as Hatch-Waxman. This law creates a regime by which a generic drugmaker can file an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The branded pharmaceutical listed in the Orange Book will be covered by patents but the generic drugmaker can include a Paragraph IV certification in the ANDA, a declaration that the patents covering the Orange Book-listed drug are unenforceable and invalid. When a company like Allergan has to face Hatch-Waxman validity trials in federal district court and serial IPRs at the PTAB, it turns Allergan’s Restasis patents into piñatas taking hit after hit at multiple forums before being finally ripped asunder at some point.

Allergan’s RESTASIS® patents declared invalid by Eastern District of Texas

Judge William C. Bryson of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that Allergan’s RESTASIS® patents were infringed by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, but that Teva had demonstrated invalidity of those patents by clear and convincing evidence… In a separate Order dealing with the issue of whether the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe should be joined as co-plaintiff, Judge Bryson acknowledged that “the sovereign immunity issue is not presented in this case,” but nevertheless went to great lengths in dicta to express his opinion on the matter anyway.

St. Regis Mohawks, BIO send letters to Senate Judiciary slamming the unfair playing field of IPRs at PTAB

On Thursday, October 12th, a pair of letters addressed to the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee were delivered in an attempt to inform Senators on that committee of various issues in play regarding the recent patent deal between multinational pharmaceutical firm Allergan and the sovereign St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. The two groups sending the letters represent stakeholders in the U.S. patent system coming from very different backgrounds who realize that there are fundamental flaws in the system created by inter partes review (IPR) proceedings which are carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Inherent obviousness necessitates specific motivation to modify lead compound in pharma process due to surprising, unexpected results

Inherent obviousness cannot be based on what the inventor thought, and, in addition, the results in a particular case may not be inherently obvious depending on what was expected by a person of ordinary skill. The court pointed out “’the mere fact that a certain thing may result from a given set of circumstances is not sufficient’ to render the results inherent.” Millennium Pharmaceuticals, 2017 WL 3013204, at *6 (citations omitted by author). The court also held that it is never appropriate to consider “what the inventor intended when the experiment was performed,” even though Millennium “conceded as a matter of law that the ester is a ‘natural result’ of freeze-drying bortezomib with mannitol.” Id. Thus, hindsight reasoning should never be applied and, obviousness is “measured objectively in light of the prior art, as viewed by a person of ordinary skill in the invention.”