Ir­ish pharma com­pany loses court patent bid

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Tim Healy

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.

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