Court denies Teva stay in Copaxone patent fight
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[April 21, 2014] By
— U.S. Supreme Court Chief
Justice John Roberts on Friday denied a request by Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to stay a lower-court ruling in a
patent case that favored the developers of generic versions of
Teva's top-selling multiple sclerosis drug.
The decision could help pave the way for generic
competitors of Teva's Copaxone drug to go on the market as soon as
Teva had sought to prevent the lower-court ruling from going into
effect while the Supreme Court considers its appeal in the patent
At issue is a July 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit in favor of two teams developing cheaper generic
forms of Copaxone: one comprising Novartis AG's Sandoz Inc and
Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc, and the other comprising Mylan Inc and
Natco Pharma Ltd.
In his decision on Friday, Roberts, in a brief opinion, wrote that
he was not convinced Teva had shown the "likelihood of irreparable
harm" if the application was denied, because if Teva wins the
Supreme Court case it can seek damages from the generic companies
for past infringement on its patents.
Teva still has the option of asking another justice for a stay, but
such requests are rarely granted.
The appeals court upheld some of the nine patents involved in
Copaxone, or portions of them, but declared several invalid, meaning
patent protections were set to expire in May 2014 instead of
September 2015. The outcome of the legal fight therefore determines
how soon the generic drugs can go on sale.
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The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the Teva case
until its 2014 term begins in October. A ruling could come as late
as June 2015, which is why Teva sought to stay the lower court
The case is Teva v. Sandoz, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-854.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; editing by Leslie Adler)
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