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IP LitigationFederal CircuitLife Sciences

No “magic words” required under section 1292; later-discovered benefits can support nonobviousness of drug combination; intention to convey patent exclusivity supports standing

April 25, 2014

IP LitigationFederal CircuitLife Sciences

No “magic words” required under section 1292; later-discovered benefits can support nonobviousness of drug combination; intention to convey patent exclusivity supports standing

April 25, 2014

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Federal Circuit confirms appellate jurisdiction, affirms judgment of no invalidity due to obviousness, and affirms spoliation and standing rulings.  The patent relates to a combination drug used to treat hypertension.

Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GMBH v. Glenmark Pharmas. Inc., USA, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Apr. 21, 2014) (NEWMAN, Linn, Wallach) (D.N.J.: Cavanaugh) (3 of 5 stars)

JURISDICTION:  The district court’s order disposing of all issues, except for a final accounting of damages that may accrue if the decision is affirmed on appeal, rendered the judgment final and appealable under section 1292(c)(2).  “No ‘magic words’ are needed to confer final judgment.”  Slip op. at 5.

NONOBVIOUSNESS/OBVIOUS TO TRY: Substantial evidence supported the jury’s finding of nonobviousness where the combination of a double-ring ACE inhibitor with calcium antagonists for longer-lasting hypertension control was not obvious-to-try.  The evidence showed that: 1) double-ring ACE inhibitors were not considered more effective than prior art single-ring inhibitors, 2) combination therapy was not favored, and 3) prior combinations required more than once daily dosing.  Moreover, later-discovered benefits, which here included improved kidney and blood vessel function, can be considered in an obviousness analysis and further supported the jury’s finding.

SPOLIATION: The evidence supported a reasonable inference that Glenmark destroyed relevant emails and related documents.  Under Third Circuit law, the district court did not abuse its discretion by issuing an adverse inference instruction when Glenmark failed to reasonably negate that reasonable inference.

STANDING: Co-plaintiffs, Abbott Laboratories and Abbott Laboratories, Inc., had standing to participate in suit and recover damages.  The evidence as a whole showed a mutual intent to convey exclusive rights of the product, regardless of any complexities or timing issues in the transfer of those rights.

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