Here are several stories that did not warrant a full post, or that were so well done by another blogger that there was no point in recreating the wheel:
The Federal Circuit upheld Judge Coar’s preliminary injunction in Abbott v. Sandoz, No. 05 C 5373 — click here to read the Federal Circuit’s opinion and here to read the Blog’s prior posts on the case. Dennis Crouch at Patently-O has a good post explaining the central issue of the case — a defendant’s burden of proof regarding invalidity in the likelihood of success analysis. Judge Newman wrote the majority decision with Judge Gajarsa dissenting. Crouch sees the case as a “good vehicle” for en banc review of the preliminary injunction standard.
Ocean Tomo is holding its 8th IP auction at home in Chicago this Wednesday and Thursday.
Michael Sadowitz at the MTTLR Blog has a great post (click here to read it) discussing one of the big post-eBay unknowns, who sets post-verdict damages when a permanent injunction is not issued, judges or juries. Sadowitz looks at a string of Eastern District of Texas cases letting juries set post-verdict damages. Sadowitz also notes that the few courts that have looked at the issue have split as to whether post-verdict damages can be severed from the damages portion of the trial.
Finally, having mastered all things drug and device related, the Drug & Device Law blog has moved into the patent realm, with some excellent analysis by their colleagues Kevin McDonald and Larry Rosenberg of Jones Day. The post (click here to read it) discusses a recent Federal Circuit decision which held that cash payments made to settle Hatch-Waxman patent litigations do not violate antitrust laws, under certain conditions:
On October 15, 2008, the Federal Circuit joined the growing list of federal courts to hold that the use of cash payments to settle Hatch-Waxman patent litigation does not violate the antitrust laws as long as (1) the settlement excludes no more competition than would the patent itself and (2) the claim for patent infringement and/or validity is not a “sham,” that is, not “objectively baseless.” In In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-1097, 2008 WL 4570669 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 15, 2008), a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the summary judgment granted to Bayer by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, holding that Bayer’s settlement of patent litigation with a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer did not violate the antitrust laws.

Continue Reading IP Legal News

Brian Higgins’s Maryland IP Law Blog post about the progeny of In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007), inspired me to do follow up posts identifying Northern District cases discussing recent major IP decisions — click here for my post on injunctions after eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 126 S.Ct. 1837, 164 L.Ed.2d 641 (2006). There have been a number of obviousness decisions in the Northern District since KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., __ U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1727 (2007). Here they are:*
Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 1549498 (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2007) (Coar, J.). — Holding that the Court’s pre-KSR analysis need not be reconsidered in light of KSR because an element was missing from the prior art, regardless of what standard was used.
Herman Miller, Inc. v. Teknion Corp., No. 05 C 2761, 2007 WL 2230042 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 30, 2007) (Gettleman, J.). — Noting that, in light of KSR, plaintiff issued a statement of non-liability and certain patents were removed from the suit.
Lexion Medical, LLC v. Northgate Techs., Inc., No. 04 C 5705, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 8, 2007). — Holding that the pre-KSR jury’s decision would not have changed if given a KSR obviousness instruction.
These opinions suggest that KSR is not changing obviousness law in the Northern District much. I suspect that is not true. Once we have a larger sample of cases, including more where the initial analysis was not done pre-KSR, we will see more patents held invalid based upon obviousness.
* A brief note on methodology: this was not a thorough study and does not include cases that granted or denied injunctions without discussion. For a more complete list of post-KSR decisions nationwide, go to the Fire of Genius.

Continue Reading Obviousness Post-KSR

Brian Higgins at the Maryland IP Law Blog posted an analysis of significant willfulness decisions post-In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) — click here for the post and click here for a subsequent post discussing Se-Kure Controls, Inc. v. Diam USA, Inc., No. 06 C 4857, 2008 WL 169029 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 17, 2008) (Cox, Mag. J.). Of the eleven decisions Higgins identified, three were Northern District decisions and one was a Federal Circuit decision analyzing a Northern District case. Here are my posts on the Northern District decisions:
Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 4287503 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 4, 2007) (Coar, J.).
Se-Kure Controls, Inc v. Diam USA, Inc.
Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 3, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).
As you can infer from the relatively small number of cases identified by Higgins, there remains a lot of law to be written about Seagate before the standard is well settled. I suspect that within 18-24 months there will be a relatively large body of law, including numerous Federal Circuit decisions exploring the new standard’s outlines. Until then, patent litigants will face a degree of uncertainty regarding willfulness. Of course, defendants will generally be glad to have some uncertainty in exchange for plaintiffs’s higher willfulness hurdle.

Continue Reading Willfulness Post-Seagate

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 4287503 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 4, 2007) (Coar, J.).*
Judge Coar granted defendant Sandoz’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss or in the alternative Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing plaintiff Abbott’s willfulness claims Abbott alleged that Sandoz willfully infringed Abbott’s patent related to an extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL). At the time Sandoz entered the market with its generic version of Biaxin XL, the Federal Circuit had issued an opinion based upon an interlocutory appeal of a temporary restraining order, which included statements that Abbott’s patent was susceptible to invalidity and unenforceability argument. The Court held that Sandoz’s reliance on that opinion, regardless of the limited record it was based upon or its non-final nature was objectively reasonable, well above the In re Seagate objective recklessness standard.
* Click here for more on this case and related cases.

Continue Reading Reliance Upon Fed. Cir.’s Cursory Potential Invalidity Statements Avoids Willfulness

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 4287501 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 4, 2007) (Coar, J.).*
Judge Coar construed the claims of plaintiff Abbott’s patent related to an extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL), denied defendant Sandoz’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement and granted Abbott summary judgment regarding anticipation, obviousness and inequitable conduct. Of particular interest, the Court held that the use of Markush group language – “selected from the group consisting of” – in the specification did not necessarily limit the construction of claim terms. The Court also noted that materiality of a reference in an inequitable conduct analysis was determined from the perspective of a reasonable examiner, not the patentee.
* Click here for more on this case and related cases.

Continue Reading Markush Language in Specification Does Not Limit Claims

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 1549498 (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2007) (Coar, J.).
Judge Coar denied defendant Sandoz, Inc.’s (“Sandoz”) motion to stay the Court’s preliminary injunction pending appeal to the Federal Circuit pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(c). The Court previously granted plaintiff Abbott’s motion for a preliminary injunction (you can read more about that decision and related cases in the Blog’s archives). The PI enjoined defendant Sandoz from selling a generic version of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL). Sandoz argued that the PI should be stayed pending appeal because of conflicting Federal Circuit law regarding the Court’s claim construction and because of the Supreme Court’s KSR decision.
First, Sandoz argued that two different Federal Circuit panels had issued differing rulings construing the claims at issue. Judge Coar rejected this argument because the construction relied upon in the PI ruling was the Federal Circuit’s second, broader claim construction. The Court explained that the “only rational assumption” was that the second panel was aware of the constructions in the first, but relied upon something different in the record or identified a fact missed by the first panel. Further, the Court predicted that the Federal Circuit would not retreat from its second opinion to its first, prior opinion.
Second, the Court held that the KSR decision did not change its analysis of Sandoz’s likelihood of success on its obviousness argument. The Court provided a detailed explanation of KSR and its reasoning, but differentiated the current case because the Court held that one of the limitations in the Abbott claims did not exist in Sandoz’s cited combination of prior art references. Because the references did not disclose one of the elements of the claims, whether or not the Court used a strict application of the Federal Circuit’s teaching, suggestion or motivation test did not change the outcome of its analysis. Both the Federal Circuit’s and the Supreme Court’s standards required that all elements be disclosed by the combined prior art references.
Finally, the Court held that Sandoz had not provided sufficient evidence that it would be irreparably harmed. Sandoz argued that if it could not enter the market at the same time as other generics, which are not subject to PI’s, pharmacists would be reluctant to later restock their shelves with Sandoz’s generic version of the drug. But the Court reasoned that the lure of generics is their prices, not their brand recognition, so Sandoz should have no trouble re-entering the market at a later date should it prevail.

Continue Reading Neither Federal Circuit Split Nor KSR Warranted Stay of a Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 07 C 1721, Slip op. (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2007) (Anderson, J.).
Judge Anderson denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent defendants Sandoz, Inc. (“Sandoz”) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. (“Teva”) from selling a generic version of plaintiff Abbott Laboratories’ (“Abbott”) antibiotic cefdinir, which it markets using the name Omnicef. Plaintiffs’ original patent, U.S. Patent No. 4,559,334 (the “‘334 patent”), covering a form of cefdinir expired on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 10:59 p.m. CDT. Plaintiffs’ second patent, U.S. Patent No. 4,935,507 (the “‘507 patent”), covering a crystalline cefdinir, does not expire until December 4, 2011. Plaintiffs argued that Sandoz’s and Teva’s respective formulations of cefdinir (the “accused products”), which the parties agree can be classified as cefdinir monohydrate, infringed the ‘507 patent and, therefore, sales of the accused products should be enjoined. The Court, with agreement of the parties, adopted a prior claim construction from Judge Payne of the E.D. Virginia for purposes of the PI determination. Using Judge Payne’s construction, the Court held that the accused products did not likely infringe the ‘507 patent. First, cefdinir monohydrate only displayed four of the seven peaks in an x-ray diffraction pattern that the ‘507 patent identified as indicative of crystalline cefdinir within the +/-.1 degree margin of error that the Court determined was the proper construction of the ‘507 patent’s “about” qualifier. Second, the Court held that “trace” amounts of crystalline cefdinir that were allegedly in the accused products in addition to the cefdinir monohydrate did not likely amount to literal infringement.

Continue Reading Denial of PI Permits Sale of Generic Antibiotic

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 1141635 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 16, 2007) (Coar, J.).

Judge Coar granted plaintiff Abbott’s motion for a preliminary injunction, after having previously denied it a TRO.*  The PI enjoined defendant Sandoz from selling a generic version of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL).  The Court held that Sandoz had shown a substantial likelihood of materiality and Abbott’s intent to deceive the PTO  based upon Abbott’s failure to disclose certain taste perversion data during prosecution.  But because Abbott abandoned the claims to which the taste perversion data was relevant of its own accord, the Court did not find the patent preliminarily unenforceable.  The Court explained its reasoning as follows:

Redemption is one of the core principles of the American ethos.  Thus in addition to being contrary to the spirit of Scribbs, Kimberly-Clark and the Code of Federal Regulation, it seems wholly inequitable to hold a patent to be invalid for fraudulent conduct in the prosecution of a claim that was withdrawn before actual prosecution had even begun.


Continue Reading Preliminary Injunction Granted Despite Likely Inequitable Conduct Because Likely-Tainted Claims Were Voluntarily Withdrawn From Prosecution

Abbott Labs. v. Andrx Pharm., Inc., No. 06-1101, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. 2007).

While this is not a Northern District case, it is relevant to the Blog because it is an appeal of a Northern District case and because it confirms Judge Coar’s ruling (discussed here) that a preliminary injunction holding lacked preclusive effect in the related case Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 3718025 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2006).  In this patent dispute plaintiff, Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), alleged that defendant’s, Andrx Pharmacueticals ("Andrx") sale of a generic form of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative) which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL.  The Northern District held that Abbott had established a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement claim and that Andrx had not established a likelihood that the patent would be held invalid.  As a result of those holdings, the Northern District issued a preliminary injunction.  In its appeal, Andrx argued that Abbott was precluded from obtaining a preliminary injunction because the Federal Circuit overturned a previous Northern District preliminary injunction for Abbott against another generic antibiotic producer Teva Pharmaceuticals ("Teva").  In that case, the Federal Circuit held that Teva raised a substantial question as to the validity of the claims at issue, sufficient to call Abbott’s likelihood of success on the merits into question. 


Continue Reading Federal Circuit Agrees With the Northern District: Preliminary Injunction Holdings Are Not Preclusive

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 3718025 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2006) (Coar, J.).

Judge Coar denied plaintiff’s, Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") to prevent defendant, Sandoz, Inc. ("Sandoz"), from selling a generic version of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL).  The Court had entered a TRO and, ultimately, a preliminary injunction preventing another party, Teva Pharmaceuticals ("Teva"), from selling a generic version of plaintiff’s patented extended release antibiotic, but the Federal Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction.  The Federal Circuit held that Teva raised a substantial question as to the validity of the claims at issue, sufficient to call Abbott’s likelihood of success on the merits into question. 


Continue Reading Federal Circuit’s Preliminary Injunction Ruling Is Not Preclusive