Irish pharma company loses court patent bid
AN Irish pharmaceutical company has failed to get a High Court order revoking a patent for an invention related to an inhalation capsule used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The capsule is used in an inhalation device which has generated worldwide sales of more than €3.5bn.
Norton ( Waterford) Ltd, trading as Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, sought the revocation of the “220 Patent” issued in Ireland in 2002 to Boehringer Ingelheim International GMBH under which it produces “Spiriva” medication used with its its “Handihaler” device. Teva argued none of the claims of the patent relate to a “patentable invention” in that it did not involve an inventive step obvious to a person skilled in the art, and having regard to the state of the art at the time it was patented.
Teva also claimed the specification of the patent did not disclose the alleged invention “clearly and completely enough for it to be performed by a person skilled in the art”.
Boehringer denied all the claims.
Boehringer said, among other things, that Teva’s objective in seeking revocation is to ensure it (Teva) can make or market a product which will compete with the Spiriva Handihaler.
It also said this will mean Teva, as a generics company, will be able to compete without having had to carry out research and development work. Yes- terday, Mr Justice Max Barrett said the challenge failed in its invalidity claim that the specification of the 220 Patent did not disclose the invention clearly and completely enough for it to be performed by a person skilled in the art, or what is called the “insufficiency challenge”.
The claim by Teva that the patent was invalid because the invention protected was obvious in light of prior publications in this area also failed, he said..
It also failed in its claim that the patent was invalid because the invention protected was obvious for lack of technical contribution to this particular art.
None of the grounds put forward by Teva were accepted by the court and the judge therefore declined to grant the order sought.