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.
Joseph Rutkowski is an Associate and is based in the firm’s Boston office. His practice focuses on a variety of civil litigation matters, including patent litigation, trade secret disputes, and complex commercial litigation. Joseph’s primary focus is intellectual property litigation, including matters involving pharmaceuticals and the Hatch-Waxman Act, and he is experienced in all stages of litigation.
In a unanimous decision issued on June 12, 2017, the Supreme Court for the first time interpreted key provisions of the 2010 Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”). See Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., No. 15-1195 (U.S. June 12, 2017). The Court’s decision grants more flexibility to biosimilar companies and filers of abbreviated Biologics License Applications (“aBLAs”), holding that (1) a reference product sponsor is not entitled to injunctive relief under federal law for an applicant’s refusal to provide a copy of its aBLA and manufacturing information during the information exchange period contemplated by the BPCIA, and (2) an applicant may provide statutory 180-day pre-launch notice of commercial marketing before its proposed biosimilar product is licensed by FDA. An overview of the parties’ oral arguments before the Court on these issues can be found here.
On May 10, 2017, Amgen filed a complaint in the District of Delaware asserting that, under section 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2)(C)(i) of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”), Coherus infringed Amgen’s U.S. Patent No. 8,273,707 (the “’707 patent”) by filing an abbreviated Biologic License Application (“aBLA”) for a biosimilar version of Amgen’s Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) product. Amgen asserted that the biosimilar manufacturing process disclosed in the Coherus aBLA will infringe the ’707 patent’s claimed protein purification process.
On March 2, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued an order in Janssen v. Celltrion explaining that an accused patent infringer’s failure to fully engage in the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”) “patent dance” information exchange process may expose the biosimilar maker to eventual infringement damages in the form of lost profits, and preclude limiting damages to a reasonable royalty. Janssen Biotech, Inc. et al v. Celltrion Healthcare Co., Ltd. et al, 1:15-cv-10698 (D. Mass, 2017).
Janssen sued Celltrion for patent infringement under the BPCIA following the FDA’s acceptance of Celltrion’s abbreviated Biologics License Application (“aBLA”) for a biosimilar version of Janssen’s Remicade (infliximab). In the course of litigation, Celltrion moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing based on Janssen’s alleged failure to add a necessary party. To guide the parties’ settlement negotiations, the court sought to clarify whether, in the event the action was dismissed and Janssen was forced to refile the complaint with the proper plaintiffs, Janssen would be prevented from seeking lost profits damages under the BPCIA.
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.
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.
Our Biosimilar webinar series continued this month with Tom Wintner’s BPCIA Patent Litigation presentation. Tom discussed the general framework of litigation under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”), including the “patent dance” information exchange under 42 U.S.C. §262(l), and three case studies that inform our current understanding of emerging judicial interpretation of BPCIA requirements.
For those who missed the webinar, some of the key takeaways include the following:
- Biosimilar litigation is ultimately about patent litigation, but much of the underlying patent issues have been obscured because current litigation focuses on when and how the BPCIA applies and the BPCIA’s requirements when it does apply.
Mintz Levin’s Biosimilar webinar series continued this month with Linda Bentley and Joanne Hawana’s Biosimilars FDA/Regulatory Overview presentation on the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”) and its implementation. Some of the key takeaways include:
- overviews of FDA guidance on demonstrating biologic product biosimilarity and “interchangeability” (the latter of which means that the biosimilar may be substituted for the FDA-approved reference product without intervention by the prescribing health care provider);
- FDA’s “stepwise” approach to determining biosimilarity, under which more robust initial comparative evidence may reduce FDA clinical study requirements later on;
- current state of FDA draft product labeling guidance that would require, for example, reference products and biosimilars to share a common core name with unique suffixes; and
- exclusivity periods for original reference and biosimilar products.
For a more detailed write-up of the presentation, see our post on Mintz Levin’s Health Law & Policy Matters blog, here.
Tom Wintner, a member in Mintz Levin’s Intellectual Property group, will present the next webinar in the Biosimilar series – BPCIA Patent Litigation – on Thursday, February 25, 2016. This session will offer practical advice regarding litigating patents under the BPCIA and provide an update on current litigation under the law.
Sign up here to attend Tom’s litigation webinar or the other Biosimilar webinars coming up in March and April.
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.