Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Health Law
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The case involves a patent infringement dispute between Copan Italia S.p.A. and Copan Diagnostics Inc. (collectively, “Copan”) and Puritan Medical Products Company LLC and its affiliated companies (collectively, “Puritan”). Copan, the holder of several patents on flocked swabs used for collecting biological specimens, filed a patent infringement complaint against Puritan in the District of Maine. Puritan, in response, filed a partial motion to dismiss, claiming immunity under the Pandemic Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (“PREP Act”) for a portion of its accused product.The District Court for the District of Maine denied Puritan's motion to dismiss. The court found that Puritan had not shown, as a factual matter, that its flocked swabs were “covered countermeasures” under the PREP Act. The court also granted Puritan’s motion to amend its answer, allowing it to assert PREP Act immunity as a defense, subject to further argument.Puritan appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. However, the appellate court found that it lacked jurisdiction to review the case. The court reasoned that the district court's denial of Puritan's motion to dismiss did not conclusively determine any issue, which is a requirement for the application of the collateral order doctrine. The court suggested that the district court may wish to structure the litigation in a manner that could allow it to make a conclusive determination on Puritan’s PREP Act immunity defense before the case proceeds any further. The appeal was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. View "COPAN ITALIA SPA v. PURITAN MEDICAL PRODUCTS COMPANY LLC " on Justia Law

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This case deals with the importation of two transcatheter heart valve systems by Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. and Meril, Inc. (collectively, "Meril") into the United States for a medical conference in San Francisco. The plaintiff, Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and Edwards Lifesciences LLC (collectively, "Edwards"), a competitor medical device company, alleged that this act constituted patent infringement. Meril argued that the importation was covered by the "safe harbor" provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1), which exempts certain activities from being considered patent infringement if they are reasonably related to the development and submission of information under a Federal law which regulates the manufacture, use, or sale of drugs.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Meril, and Edwards appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court, noting that the undisputed evidence showed that the importation of the valve systems was reasonably related to submitting information to the United States Food and Drug Administration. The court rejected Edwards' arguments that the district court had disregarded contemporaneous evidence, applied the safe harbor with an objective standard, and relied improperly on declarations from Meril employees. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that there was no genuine dispute of material fact and that Meril was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORPORATION v. MERIL LIFE SCIENCES PVT. LTD. " on Justia Law

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In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit considered whether the defendants' Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) infringed two patents owned by the plaintiffs. The patents pertained to the use of the drug vortioxetine in the treatment of patients who had previously taken certain other antidepressant medications and had to cease or reduce use due to sexually related adverse events, and for the treatment of cognitive impairment. The defendants were seeking approval to market vortioxetine for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in adults, a use not covered by the patents. The plaintiffs sought to block the defendants from marketing a generic version of the drug until after the expiration of the patents.The court held that the defendants' ANDA filings did not infringe the plaintiffs' patents. The court found that the defendants' intended use of the drug, for the treatment of MDD in adults, did not infringe the patents which pertained to other specific uses of the drug.Moreover, the court found no induced or contributory infringement. Regarding induced infringement, the court held that the defendants' proposed labels for the drug did not encourage, recommend, or promote an infringing use. Regarding contributory infringement, the court held that the defendants' sale of the drug would have substantial noninfringing uses, thus there would be no contributory infringement.Additionally, the court rejected Lupin's cross-appeal, which challenged the district court's determination that Lupin infringed a patent concerning a process for manufacturing vortioxetine. The court affirmed the district court's construction of the term "reacting" in the patent and its determination of infringement. View "H. LUNDBECK A/S v. LUPIN LTD. " on Justia Law

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The patent claims at issue covered processes that help doctors who use thiopurine drugs to treat patients with autoimmune diseases determine whether a given dosage level was too low or too high. The claims purported to apply natural laws describing the relationships between the concentration in the blood of certain thiopurine metabolites and the likelihood that the drug dosage would be ineffective or induce harmful side-effects. At issue was whether the claimed processes have transformed these unpatentable natural laws into patent-eligible applications of those laws. The Court concluded that they have not done so and that therefore the processes were not patentable. The steps in the claimed processes involved well-understood, routine, conventional activity previously engaged in by researchers in the field. At the same time, upholding the patents would risk disproportionately tying up the use of the underlying natural laws, inhibiting their use in the making of further discoveries. Therefore, the Court reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. View "Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law

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Wake Forest is the owner of asserted patents, and KCI are the exclusive licensees of the patents, which claim methods and apparatuses for treating difficult-to-heal wounds by applying suction or negative pressure. In response to S&N’s 2008 announcement that it was launching a new foam-based negative pressure wound treatment product, Wake Forest and KCI asserted that S&N infringes two apparatus claims of the patent and induces infringement of four method claims. Rejecting the jury’s findings of non-obviousness, the district court found obviousness, based on prior art, and rejected infringement claims. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded. The objective evidence strongly supported the jury’s findings under the first three Graham factors and cut against the view that the claimed inventions were an obvious combination of known elements from the prior art. View "Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc." on Justia Law

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Allcare owns a patent directed to “managed health care systems” used to interconnect and integrate physicians, medical care facilities, patients, insurance companies, and financial institutions, particularly with respect to utilization review, the process of determining whether a health insurer should approve a particular treatment for a patient. In general, the patent’s claims cover a method of determining whether utilization review is necessary in a particular instance, and whether a recommended treatment is appropriate. If utilization review is required, the method prevents authorization and payment until the appropriateness of the treatment has been determined and the treatment has been approved. The district court held that the patent was not infringed by Highmark, found the case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. 285 and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to Highmark. The Federal Circuit affirmed the finding that Allcare’s allegations of infringement of claim 102 rendered the case exceptional, but reversed a finding that other claims and actions supported an exceptional case finding. Remand was necessary to determine the amount of fees apportionable to each of the issues. View "Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Mgmt. Sys. Inc." on Justia Law

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Baxter's patent relates to hemodialysis machines that can function in place of a human kidney to cleanse the blood of toxins using a solution called a dialysate. The patent, entitled "Method and Apparatus for Kidney Dialysis," discloses and claims a hemodialysis machine integrated with a touch screen user interface that allows an operator to monitor and control a number of parameters. To ensure that the process does not filter essential nutrients from the blood, a hemodialysis machine must facilitate the monitoring and control of a number of parameters. In parallel with litigation concerning the patent, the U.S. PTO reexamined and rejected claims in the patent as obvious, 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed. View "In Re Baxter Int'l, Inc." on Justia Law

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The FDA last approved a typical antipsychotic in 1975. Despite drawbacks, typical antipsychotics are still used to treat schizophrenia. In the early 1960s, researchers discovered clozapine, the first "atypical" antipsychotic, useful for treating both positive and negative symptoms. Clozapine had serious potential side effects and was withdrawn from clinical trials. The FDA approved no new antipsychotic drugs between 1976 and 1989, finally approving clozapine in 1990, only for certain patients, subject to blood testing. The FDA approved risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic, in 1994, and, since then, has approved seven other atypical antipsychotics, including aripiprazole. These are as effective as typical antipsychotics for treating positive symptoms, while also treating negative symptoms and causing fewer side effects than clozapine. Every approved atypical antipsychotic has chemical structure related either to clozapine or risperidone, except aripiprazole, the active ingredient in "Abilify," marketed by plaintiff for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, irritability associated with pediatric autistic disorder, and as add-on treatment for depression. Anticipating expiration of the patent, companies submitted FDA Abbreviated New Drug Applications for approval of generic aripiprazole. The district court ruled in favor of plaintiff on patent infringement, 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims of obviousness and of nonstatutory double patenting. View "Otsuka Pharm. Co., Ltd. v. Sandoz, Inc." on Justia Law

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The patent claims at issue covered processes that help doctors who use thiopurine drugs to treat patients with autoimmune diseases determine whether a given dosage level was too low or too high. The claims purported to apply natural laws describing the relationships between the concentration in the blood of certain thiopurine metabolites and the likelihood that the drug dosage would be ineffective or induce harmful side-effects. At issue was whether the claimed processes have transformed these unpatentable natural laws into patent-eligible applications of those laws. The Court concluded that they have not done so and that therefore the processes were not patentable. The steps in the claimed processes involved well-understood, routine, conventional activity previously engaged in by researchers in the field. At the same time, upholding the patents would risk disproportionately tying up the use of the underlying natural laws, inhibiting their use in the making of further discoveries. Therefore, the Court reversed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. View "Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law

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The patents at issue relate to balloon-expandable stents, used to treat occluded blood vessels. Following a remand, the district court found that defendants did not literally infringe the patents and rejected claims that the patents were invalid for lack of description or due to inequitable conduct. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Based on the court's proper clarification of its construction of the term "undulating," there was not substantial evidence to support a finding of infringement, nor was there substantial evidence of inequitable conduct. View "Cordis Corp. v. Boston Scientific Corp." on Justia Law