Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“Abuse of Patent System” Renders Patent Unenforceable Regardless of Materiality

Following a bench trial, the court found that plaintiff's drug manufacturing process patent was unenforceable for inequitable conduct and determined that plaintiff's conduct was so egregious a finding of materiality was unnecessary. "[T]his case is one of those exceptional cases where . . . a finding of materiality is not necessary. . . . Despite having test results that contradicted his statements, [plaintiff's founder/inventor] made affirmative misrepresentations to the PTO with respect to the nature of the prior art and the [accused] tablet that had been sold in the United States for years before [he] purportedly invented his process. In fact, as [plaintiff's] own expert testified, [the inventor's] process merely requires the addition of more water to [another] Patent's process. But [he] declined to share this information with the Examiner. Nor did [he] disclose that he had filed a second patent application regarding the stability of moexipril. He also kept from the PTO the '560 PCT, which was cited in the second moexipril application and was the basis for the Examiner's rejection of the second application. . . . [T]he misconduct in this case extended beyond misrepresentations to the patent Examiner and constitutes an abuse of the patent system itself. The practice of targeting a competitor's existing and widely available product and seeking to obtain a patent for the purpose of suing that competitor through a pattern of lies and deception should not be rewarded."

Apotex, Inc., et. al. v. UCB, Inc., et. al., 0-12-cv-60706 (FLSD September 6, 2013, Order) (Middlebrooks, J.).

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