Drugs company infringed patent on cancer treatment, Supreme Court rules

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Jul 10, 2017
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One of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies infringed patents in Britain and other European countries, the Supreme Court said on Friday, making the rare move of announcing its findings before its full judgment.

The Supreme Court found that products from Actavis directly infringed Eli Lilly’s patents in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. The court’s decision overturned earlier High Court and Court of Appeal rulings, and the judges also dismissed a cross-appeal by Actavis. Full judgment in the dispute will be handed down on Wednesday as originally listed.

Lilly’s patent involves a cancer drug, pemetrexed. According to lawyers for Lilly, proposed Actavis products differed only in relation to the salt form of pemetrexed. Actavis sought declarations of non-infringement in relation to the British, French, German, Italian and Spanish patents in the British courts.

Actavis removed the German patent from the litigation in 2014 after a Düsseldorf court found that it would be infringed. In the British High Court, Mr Justice Arnold held that the remaining patents were not infringed and granted declarations of non-infringement to Actavis.

Daniel Brook, a partner at the transatlantic law firm Hogan Lovells, which acted for Lilly,  said the Supreme Court’s ruling “vindicates Lilly's position after five years of hard-fought litigation and we look forward to receiving the reasoned judgment next week”.

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