Recently, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte reintroduced a patent reform bill, known as the Innovation Act of 2015 (H.R. 9) (“The Act”). This reintroduced bipartisan bill is substantially similar to its predecessor, Innovation Act of 2013. The Innovation Act of 2013 had received overwhelming support by the House of Representatives, but was ultimately tabled, along with other patent reform bills, due to bipartisan disputes.
Author: George M. Gould
We have previously posted on the judiciary’s attempts to address frivolous and unwarranted suits brought by patent holding, non-practicing entities (“NPEs”). To deter such litigation, courts have the power to award attorneys’ fees and costs to defendants subject to such baseless suits. In an October 23 Opinion and Order in Lumen View Tech., LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc., District Judge Denise Cote, applying 35 U.S.C. § 285 (“Section 285”), not only awarded the defendant its attorneys’ fees and costs, but also applied an enhancement to the awarded fees.
In a case of procedural jockeying, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in State of Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, held that a “district court’s remand order dominate[d] any proceedings on th[e] appeal” and because a remand under 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) “is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise[,]” the Federal Circuit lacked appellate jurisdiction.
Last week, in what appeared to be one of the first pharmaceutical based cases brought to a decision under the IPR regime, the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office held that the majority of claims in a series of vitamin supplement patents were invalid. This decision turns the welcoming lights on for the generic drug industry to utilize the inter partes review (IPR) procedures under the America Invents Act to challenge proprietary pharmaceutical patents. In this matter, the challenger Gnosis, a defendant in an infringement action brought by Merck & Cie, South Alabama Medical Science Foundation and Parmlab, which was stayed pending the IPR decision, successfully defended against the four patents in issue: United States Patent Nos. 5,997,915, 6,011,040, 6,673,381 and 7,172,778 which are directed to compositions and methods of use involving chiral reduced natural folate compounds used as food supplements to prevent or treat folate deficiency diseases.
The generic pharmaceutical industry faced a Catch-22 when a serious adverse reaction arose from use of a generic drug product, and the manufacturer was restrained from unilaterally amending the product label to conform to state requirements, due to the Supreme Court’s decision in PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, 131 S.Ct. 2567 (2011). PLIVA held that state requirements to change a label are pre-empted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act’s prohibition of changing labeling without authorization by the FDA.