Issue Date: January 26, 2015
High Court Sides With Teva In Patent Dispute
The Supreme Court handed Teva Pharmaceutical Industries a win last week in the company’s fight to block generic competition to Copaxone, its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug. In a 7-2 decision, the high court set aside a July 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that invalidated several of Teva’s patents on Copaxone. Had it been upheld, the appeals court ruling would have given generic competitors a green light to enter the market. Teva argued to the high court that the Federal Circuit should not have second-guessed factual findings made earlier by a trial court that upheld the validity of Teva’s patents. The Supreme Court agreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the Federal Circuit, which has nationwide jurisdiction for patent cases, must give deference to a trial court’s factual findings unless the determinations are clearly wrong. He said there is no exception to this rule for patent infringement litigation. The case now goes back to the Federal Circuit for further review. The disputed patents expire in September.
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