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Healthcare Roundup: Recent IP Lawsuits in the Industry

medical technician putting blood samples on petri dish
December 21, 2020

While all eyes have undoubtedly been at the intellectual property battles concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, there have also been some recent big IP news in the healthcare sector.

Teva and Cephalon fined EUR 60.5 million for “pay-for-delay” agreement

The European Commission fined pharmaceutical companies Teva and Cephalon for violating EU antitrust rules. The companies were found to have delayed the market entry of Teva’s cheaper generic version of Cephalon’s modafinil, a sleeping disorder medicine in late November 2020. 

The Commission’s investigation showed that the two companies engaged in a so-called “pay for delay” agreement wherein Teva received a package of commercial side-deals and cash payments for committing not to compete against Cephalon and not to challenge its patents. The agreement, according to the Commission, stemmed from a 2005 patent settlement deal where Cephalon initially sued Teva for allegedly breaching its patents.

With the EU’s Intellectual Property Action Plan and Pharmaceutical Strategy in the pipeline, further scrutiny by authorities into the pharmaceutical industry and its practices involving patent infringement and relevant anti-competitive agreements may be expected.


GSK denied USD 89.7 million patent appeal against Vectura

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling against GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) concerning certain Ellipta inhalers, according to rival Vectura. GSK sought to overturn a USD 89.7 million in damages to Vectura, along with a new trial concerning the infringement ruling. 

In addition to the damages awarded, Vectura will receive ongoing royalties of 3% on GSK Ellipta products that infringe its intellectual property. Vectura will also receive supplemental damages based on GSK’s infringing sales of around USD 10.5 million.

The Court of Appeals panel reportedly ruled that there was no grounds to order a new trial or to overturn the previous verdict and rejected GSK’s statements on the improper statements of a Vectura lawyer in court and the infringement ruling against the company.


Omron to face Purdue’s blood pressure cuff patent lawsuit

Japanese company Omron was denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by Purdue University, which alleged that Omron infringed on its patent concerning a method of measuring blood pressure with wrist and arm monitors. 

A federal judge reportedly rejected Omron’s argument which stated that the patent was subject to laws of nature, which is considered to be patent-ineligible.


Diagnostics firm Ravgen sues Illumina, Roche for genetic testing patent infringements

US-based diagnostics company Ravgen has sued Illumina for offering services that allegedly violate two of its patents concerning non-invasive genetic technology such as the testing of cell-free DNA. The company also sued subsidiaries of Roche in a separate lawsuit for the same issue.

A media report stated that Ravgen has also sued several companies in complaints alleging infringement on the same patent. Ravgen has a series of patent infringement cases with companies Natera, Quest Diagnostics, Perkin Elmer, and Laboratory Corporation of America. Ravgen is seeking a jury trial and to be awarded damages and fees, as well as a permanent injunction against the defendants.

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