On July 17, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed, in a precedential opinion in Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 2015-2066 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2017), a district court ruling that claims of a patent directed to the Velcade® cancer treatment drug compound were invalid as obvious. The Court held that the District of Delaware clearly erred by finding U.S. Patent No. 6,713,446 (the ‘446 patent) prima facie obvious to one of skill in the art, and by misapplying the secondary indicia of unexpected success and long-unmet need.
Adam Samansky is a Member based in the firm’s Boston office, where he focuses on intellectual property litigation and handles patent, trademark, and trade secret matters on behalf of innovators and investors. Adam’s core practice includes patent and trade secret litigation involving complex technologies in the pharmaceutical, medical, high-tech, and defense industries. He regularly conducts due diligence on blockbuster pharmaceutical assets, including reviewing and assessing litigation, regulatory, and competitive strategies.
On March 3, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reaffirmed, in a precedential opinion, that prosecution disclaimers may only limit the scope of a claim where the disclaimer is “both clear and unmistakable to one of ordinary skill in the art.” In Technology Properties Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., the Federal Circuit made clear that statements made during patent prosecution will not constitute a disclaimer of claim scope where the statements are “ambiguous or amenable to multiple reasonable interpretations,” but that a disclaimer based on unambiguous statements during prosecution may serve to surrender more claim scope than was necessary to overcome a rejection. Continue Reading Federal Circuit Reiterates That Patent Prosecution Disclaimers Must Be “Clear and Unmistakable”
On Monday, January 9, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied, without comment, Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ petition for certiorari to reverse an opinion by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which affirmed a broad scope of personal jurisdiction over generic ANDA filers in patent infringement suits under the Hatch-Waxman Act.
Plaintiffs bringing patent infringement complaints under the Iqbal/Twombly pleading standard should take notice. On September 30, 2016, a panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a deficient complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). The panel agreed held that a complaint for joint infringement of a patent must show which alleged actor performed each of the required claim elements. The plaintiff’s amended complaint failed to plausibly allege that the defendants exercised the required “direction or control” such that the performance of every claim step could be attributable to them.
On Friday, March 18, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed two District of Delaware rulings that non-resident defendant generic ANDA filer, Mylan, is subject to personal jurisdiction in two Hatch-Waxman suits filed in the state. (See Acorda Therapeutics Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 14‐935‐LPS (D. Del. Jan. 14, 2015); AstraZeneca AB v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 14‐696‐GMS (D. Del. Nov. 5, 2014). For coverage of the oral argument in these appeals, see our prior blog post.) The Federal Circuit found that specific personal jurisdiction exists over Mylan in Delaware because Mylan’s ANDA filings reliably indicate its intent to engage in actions that will harm plaintiffs’ patent rights in the jurisdiction. The court did not reach the issue on appeal of whether Mylan’s compliance with Delaware’s registration statute established consent to general personal jurisdiction in the state, an issue on which the lower court opinions split. However, Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley, concurring in the majority’s judgement, would also have found Mylan consented to general personal jurisdiction in light of Delaware’s interpretation of its registration statute.
Filing an ANDA Satisfies the Minimum Contacts Requirement of Specific Personal Jurisdiction
The court held that “the particular actions Mylan has already taken–its ANDA filings–for the purpose of engaging in that injury-causing and allegedly wrongful marketing conduct in Delaware” satisfy the minimum contacts with Delaware required to establish specific personal jurisdiction. The court began by observing that, if Mylan had already begun the generic drug marketing activities for which it seeks permission by filing an ANDA, “there is no doubt that it could be sued for infringement in Delaware,” and elsewhere that it seeks to market the generic ANDA products. Mylan’s ANDA filings, in turn, are “formal acts that reliably indicate plans to engage in” that same infringing activity. Thus, the ANDA filings, like the contemplated marketing acts they seek approval for, establish personal jurisdiction over Mylan in Delaware.
On Monday, January 4, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in two appeals that may determine what effect the Supreme Court’s Daimler AG v. Bauman decision will have on the exercise of personal jurisdiction over generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in Hatch-Waxman litigation.
Decisions Below Denying Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
Generic ANDA filer Mylan appealed from denial of its motion to dismiss in AstraZeneca AB v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 14‐696‐GMS (D. Del. Nov. 5, 2014). Judge Gregory M. Sleet found specific personal jurisdiction over the foreign corporate defendant in Delaware based on Mylan’s sending a Paragraph IV notice letter to AstraZeneca in Delaware. Judge Sleet also found, citing the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (U.S. 2014), that Mylan’s registration to do business in Delaware did not constitute consent to personal jurisdiction, and thus general personal jurisdiction, in Delaware.
On Monday Mylan also argued its appeal of the denial of a similar motion to dismiss in Acorda Therapeutics Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 14‐935‐LPS (D. Del. Jan. 14, 2015). In that case, Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark found specific personal jurisdiction exists over Mylan in Delaware based on Mylan’s sending a Paragraph IV notice letter to the Delaware-incorporated Acorda, even though the notice letter was not mailed to Delaware. Judge Stark, unlike Judge Sleet, also found general personal jurisdiction over Mylan because Mylan consented to personal jurisdiction in the state by voluntarily registering to do business there.
On December 9, 2014, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) upheld the validity of three Supernus Pharmaceutical’s patents relating to once-daily formulations of doxycycline. The trio of decisions is significant because one of the three patents had been at issue in a Hatch Waxman litigation. The PTAB’s decision with respect to this patent marks the first time the Board has reached a final decision regarding the validity of a patent first put at issue in litigation filed under the Hatch-Waxman Act.
The patents at issue in the three decisions – U.S. Patent Nos. 8,206,740 (“the ‘740 patent”), 8,394,405 (“the ‘405 patent”), and 8,394,406 (“the ‘406 patent”) – all related to Oracea®, an antibiotic used to treat the chronic skin disease rosacea. The ‘740 patent was originally asserted in a Hatch Waxman proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Case No. 1:11-cv-01106-LPS). Eleven months after plaintiffs in that action amended their complaint to assert infringement of the ‘740 patent (which issued subsequent to the filing of the initial action), Amneal filed a petition seeking inter partes review (“IPR”) of the ‘740 patent, thus challenging the validity of that patent simultaneously before the district court and before the PTAB. Continue Reading For the First Time PTAB Upholds Validity of Pharma Patents