Last year, in Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Federal Circuit confirmed that 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is the sole venue provision for domestic defendants in Hatch-Waxman actions.1 On Friday 5 November 2021, the Federal Circuit provided even greater clarity on venue rules in such cases, concluding that, for venue purposes, only submission of the ANDA qualifies as an act of infringement, not any action related to the submission.2Read More
Effective 1 July 2019, the EU adopted a regulation by introducing a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) manufacturing and stockpiling waiver. This waiver also applies for biosimilar versions of SPC-protected medicine during the term of the SPC.Read More
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided Sandoz Inc., v. Amgen Inc., on Monday June 12, 2017, construing the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA). The Court held: (1) that the patent dance is not enforceable by injunction under Federal law, and (2) that a biosimilar applicant’s 180-day “notice of commercial marketing” can be provided before FDA approval. (See Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., Nos. 15-1039 and 15-1195, slip op. and our IP Alert Sandoz v. Amgen—Biosimilars at the Supreme Court—Oral Argument.)
All nine U.S. Supreme Court justices heard argument on Wednesday April 26th, in Sandoz Inc., v. Amgen Inc. The Supreme Court is reviewing interpretations of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Wednesday’s arguments focused on four main issues:
- whether the FDA could preliminarily grant licensure prior to the expiration of the 12 year statutory period;
- whether the notice of commercial marketing requires official licensure to be made;
- whether the “patent dance” was required by the BPCIA; and
- whether state law could be used to enforce compliance with the “patent dance” elements of the BPCIA.
Industry watchers hope that the Supreme Court will streamline the process for getting biosimilars to market by providing increased certainty.
To read the full alert, click here.
On February 1, 2017, in Shire Development, LLC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Watson’s proposed generic version of Shire’s LIALDA® did not infringe claims 1 and 3 of Shire’s U.S. Patent No. 6,773,720 (the “’720 patent”). In reversing the district court, the Federal Circuit determined that Shire’s claim to an outer layer “consisting of” a list of specific elements closes the universe of elements for infringement purposes, and Watson’s addition of an ingredient (“magnesium stearate”) to the outer layer of its accused product created non-infringement because it was outside the claimed list of elements. The Federal Circuit’s opinion rests on a strict reading of the Markush groups within the ’720 patent and a rejection of the district court’s broad reading of the Federal Circuit’s opinion in Norian Corp. v. Stryker Corp.
A Markush-type claim (also known as a Markush group) allows a patent drafter to capture independent, related claim elements in a single limitation. The claim is characterized by the form “selected from the group consisting of A, B and C.” The “consisting of” language closes the group from including other members, such as “D.” “Consisting of” limits an element to only the named members of the group, and an element selected from outside that group will not be covered by the claim. In contrast, patent drafters frequently use an alternative preamble “comprising” to keep the claims open to additional, unrecited elements.
Here, Shire sued Watson for infringing claims 1 and 3 of the ’720 patent by filing an Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) with the Food and Drug Administration seeking to market a generic version of Shire’s drug LIALDA®. The ’720 patent is directed to a controlled-release oral composition of mesalamine (5-amino-salicylic acid) used to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The claimed composition includes the mesalamine active ingredient; an inner, lipophilic matrix that “resists dissolving in water”; an outer, hydrophilic matrix that “readily dissolves in” water; and other optional excipients.
To read the full alert, click here.
Apotex petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari on September 9, 2016, seeking review of the following two issues: (1) “[w]hether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that biosimilar applicants that make all disclosures necessary under the BPCIA for the resolution of patent disputes . . . must also provide the reference product sponsor with a notice of commercial marketing under 42 U.S.C. § 262(l)(8)(A)”; and (2) “[w]hether the Federal Circuit improperly extended the statutory 12-year exclusivity period to [12.5] years by holding that a biosimilar applicant cannot give effective notice of commercial marketing . . . until it receives [FDA approval].” The Supreme Court denied the petition on December 12, 2016, without comment.
However, the questions Apotex presented are narrower than the cross-petitions taken from Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., 794 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2015), which remain pending before the Supreme Court. The Court sought the opinion of the Acting Solicitor General concerning the Sandoz petitions, and in an amicus brief filed on December 7, 2016, the Acting Solicitor concluded that the Court should hear the case. If the Court agrees, it may address Apotex’s questions in the course of deciding Sandoz. Meanwhile, biosimilar applicants and other interested parties should continue to watch the Sandoz petitions and take any decisions into account in developing strategies.
For further information, please see the update to a recently published alert on this case.
The United States biosimilars market is beginning to grow, with two recent approvals for biosimilars: Erelzi® and Amjevita®.
On August 30, 2016, the Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved Sandoz’s application for a biosimilar of Enbrel®. The product is called Erelzi and is the first biosimilar of etanercept to be approved by the FDA. Like Enbrel, Erelzi is administered by injection and is approved to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, among other conditions. Erelzi is approved as a biosimilar, not interchangeable, product. It is identified as etanercept-szzs.
On August 17, 2016, in Janssen Biotech, Inc. v. Celltrion Healthcare Co., District of Massachusetts Judge Mark Wolf faced a double patenting fact pattern that had not been adjudicated in a district court case since the Federal Circuit decided Gilead Sciences Inc. v. Natco Pharma Ltd.  Judge Wolf held U.S. Patent No. 6,284,471 (the “’471 patent”) invalid for obviousness-type double patenting over U.S. Patent No. 6,790,444 (the “’444 patent”) because the ’471 patent expired later due to the changes to patent terms under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), even though both patents claim priority to the same application and the ’471 patent issued years before the ’444 patent. 
By Naomi Pearce
FCA Confirms Commonwealth may Claim Relief Under “Usual Undertakings as to Damages”
The much anticipated Court of Appeal decision in Commonwealth of Australia v Sanofi ¹ was handed down on Monday. The decision is a win for the Commonwealth, and for generic/biosimilar companies in Australia, and (if upheld in any appeal) will result in Sponsors adopting a more circumspect approach to seeking interlocutory injunctions for patent infringement in Australia.
Except where a generic/biosimilar applicant has “cleared the way” (cleared any patent impediments to launch through the Courts in Australia) or all relevant patents have expired, interlocutory injunctions are routinely sought by the Sponsor, and are routinely granted.
On June 2, 2015, AbbVie submitted a citizen petition to the FDA arguing against its interim labeling requirements for biosimilar products under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”). As of now, the FDA has adopted the same labeling approach as used for generic pharmaceutical drugs. However, AbbVie argues in its petition that “[b]iosimilars are not generic drugs and should not be labeled like generic drugs.”
To read the full alert, click here.