Federal Court Overturns Drug Patent Verdict

On Wednesday, a U.S. federal judge overturned a verdict previously handed down by a jury, which required Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to pay British drug company GlaxoSmithKline PLC. in excess of $235 million because of patent infringement relating to a blood pressure drug called Coreg.

Leonard Stark, who is a U.S. district judge in Wilmington, Delaware, stated that the facts in the case did not support the jury’s verdict. In June of last year, the jury determined that Teva — which sells a generic version of Coreg — led to doctors infringing the patent of GlaxoSmithKline. According to The Telegraph, the jury subsequently awarded GlaxoSmithKline $234.1 million, to make up for the loss of profits. It further gave the company another $1.4 million for royalty payments owed them, and it rejected the argument that Teva had made that GlaxoSmithKline’s patent was invalid. Judge Stark did not overturn that part of the decision.

In response to the ruling, GlaxoSmithKline issued a statement that expressed disappointment with Judge Stark’s decision. They further said that they were exploring their options as it relates to the case.

Teva did not issue a comment about the ruling.

In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved carvedilol, which is a generic version of Coreg that Teva manufactures. But GlaxoSmithKline argued that Teva’s FDA application did not include using the drug for the treatment of chronic heart failure, which they insist was under patent. They further argued that, starting in 2011, Teva began marketing carvedilol specifically as a treatment for chronic heart failure.

But Judge Stark did not agree with the company’s argument. He said that the evidence presented in the case did not show that Teva’s actions directly led to doctors infringing GlaxoSmithKline’s patent. He said that there could have been other factors that led doctors to infringe GlaxoSmithKline’s patent. He then concluded by saying that — if GlaxoSmithKline could not prove causation — the ruling of the jury could not stand.

The case was filed under GlaxoSmithKline LLC. et al v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 14-cv-00878.

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