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Reverse Payment Claims Authorized Under State Law: Five Lessons from California’s In re Cipro Decision

Opening a new front in litigation over so-called reverse payment pharmaceutical patent infringement settlements, the California Supreme Court recently held that private parties can challenge these settlements under its state antitrust law, the Cartwright Act.[1] The court relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision interpreting federal antitrust law in F.T.C. v. Actavis, Inc.,[2] importing many of the same federal standards into California law. In so doing, the Cipro court elaborated on these standards beyond the relatively narrow holding of Actavis and rejected the contention that state law claims were preempted by federal patent law. The decision has important lessons for pharmaceu [...]

Judgment for Drug Companies Unlikely the End of the Road in Nexium Case

The federal district court in Boston has rejected a request from purchasers of AstraZeneca LP’s heartburn medication Nexium for a new trial to challenge a “reverse payment” or “pay-for-delay” agreement between AstraZeneca and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals to block the entry of a generic version of the drug. Judge Young’s lengthy opinion provides an interesting look at the trial and the proceedings that led up to it. In addition, the decision offers a glimpse of the issues that might be raised in a likely appeal.

In December 2014, the jury had found that a patent settlement agreement between AstraZeneca and Ranbaxy was unreasonably anticompetitive under a rule of reason standard. Howe [...]

Competition Law and Foreign Investment Review in Canada – Top 10 Issues for 2014

In our annual forecast of the year ahead for Canadian competition and foreign investment review law, the Davies Competition Law and Foreign Investment Group outlines the “Top 10″ key issues and trends to watch for this year.

1. A Green Light for Class Actions by Indirect Purchasers

The Supreme Court of Canada issued an important trilogy of decisions in October 2013 on competition class actions. Resolving a dispute between certain provincial courts of appeal, the Court held that indirect purchasers are entitled to assert claims for damages and restitution in class actions relying upon alleged competition law offences. (Indirect purchasers are entities that are one or more steps removed fr [...]

Just What on Earth Did Actavis Really Say? And Does It Mean Something for Section 1 More Broadly?

It’s going to be a strict, nearly-per-se quick look rule, folks, in more or less every reverse-payment case likely to be brought from here on out.  Dollars-to-donuts.

A few weeks have gone by, and quite a lot of folks are chewing over the entrails of Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc. The case may finally have ended the decades-long saga of the so-called “reverse payment” or “pay-for-delay” settlements, in which a branded incumbent drug maker pays a would-be generic entrant to stay out of its market and respect its patent.  Unlike most lower courts to consider them, the five-Justice Actavis majority found these deals subject to Sherman Act challenge, under a standard that [...]

Supreme Court Opens Reverse Payment Patent Settlement Agreements to Antitrust Challenge

A “reverse payment” settlement agreement is not entitled to “near-automatic antitrust immunity” simply because its anticompetitive effects fall within the scope of the exclusionary potential of the patent, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this week in a five-to-three decision. Although such agreements, also known as “pay-for-delay” settlements, are not presumptively unlawful, the FTC should be permitted to challenge reverse-payment agreements between Solvay Pharmaceuticals and would-be generic competitors Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Actavis, Inc.) and Paddock Pharmaceuticals under a rule of reason analysis. The case is  FTC v. Actavis, Inc., Dkt. No. 12-416.

Reverse paymen [...]

A Legal Rationale for Liability Under Section 2 of the Sherman Act for Patent ‘Hold-up’ by Patent Assertion Entities with Respect to Standard Essential Patents

(Note:  In December 2012, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission held a Hearing on the impact of patent assertion entities (PAEs) on innovation and competition and the implications for antitrust enforcement policy.  The Agencies then issued a Request for Public Comments on the topic of the Hearing.  In response, on April 5th, Richard Wolfram submitted the following comment to the DOJ and FTC, adapted and shortened here for Antitrust Connect.  The full Public Comment – one of almost 70 public comments submitted to the Agencies — is available at or from the author.)

This comment is submitted in my personal capacity and d [...]

Edith Ramirez is Fantastic Choice for FTC Chairman

Commissioner Edith Ramirez became the new Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission on March 4. The White House announced the selection on February 28th.

Chairwoman Ramirez is an excellent choice for antitrust enforcement generally, but is truly an ideal Chair for the FTC as it prepares to face the next generation of anti-competitive practices stemming from patent misuse.  She uniquely combines an IP litigation background with a commitment to aggressively enforce the spirit and the letter of the antitrust laws, and may prove a valuable friend in the movement for patent litigation reform.

Prior to joining the FTC, Chairwoman Ramirez was a partner with top intellectual property litigation fi [...]

FTC Requires FRAND Commitments as Part of Merger Settlement with Broad Implications

My U.S. colleagues Lee van Voorhis and Brian Rafkin wrote an excellent client alert on the Bosch case and I asked them to prepare the following short summary for the Kluwer readership:

On November 26, 2012, the FTC and Robert Bosch GmbH entered into a Consent Agreement that resolved the FTC’s inquiry into Bosch’s $1 billion acquisition of SPX Services. As part of the Consent Agreement the FTC required that Bosch agree to license on FRAND terms certain SPX patents. This is the first case where the FTC alleged an antitrust violation where a patent owner sought injunctions against willing licensees of FRAND-encumbered standard-essential patents. Moreover, the FTC obtained a consent agreemen [...]

Eradicating Patent Trolls

One of the critical obstacles to our innovation economy are patent trolls or Patent Assertion Entities (“PAE”) which acquire patents simply to bring patent litigation and effectively tax innovation. PAEs exploit numerous problems in our legal system including the expense and uncertainty of patent litigation, the excessive granting of patents in the high-tech space, the ambiguity of abstraction surrounding the claims of many high-tech patents, and the anticompetitive pricing power that comes from aggregating patents in an industry where market definition is especially difficult. PAEs are costing the economy over $29 billion annually and creating barriers to the innovation that is critical [...]

Why An Antitrust Lawyer Cares About Patent Reform

Since the advent of antitrust enforcement in the United States through the Sherman Act in 1890, antitrust law and patent law have endured an uneasy relationship.  Initial cases treated patents as superior to competition.  Patentees once were “the owner of a monopoly recognized by the Constitution and by the statutes of Congress.”  Gradually throughout the years our understanding of the intersection of intellectual property law and antitrust has evolved.  We evolved to recognize that the scope of the patentee’s power is limited, and “as long as the inventors kept within their statutory exclusive rights” they could placate the Sherman Act.  Regulatory agencies now recognize pate [...]

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