11 December 2017
Washington DC
Reporter: Barney Dixon

High tech companies weigh in on Allergan deal

Tech companies have argued that Allergan should not be allowed to circumvent the inter partes review (IPR) process with its controversial patent deal with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

The High Tech Inventors Alliance, Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association filed an amicus brief in an IPR case against the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Allergan transferred its entire portfolio of Restasis dry eye treatment patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe earlier this year, in an attempt to grant the patents immunity from IPR.

The associations argued that the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) should “not allow Allergan to circumvent the review process”.

The associations’ brief said: “Tribes are domestic dependent nations whose sovereignty gives them immunity from lawsuits by states or third parties, but not from the US when it is enforcing laws of general applicability.”

“Tribal immunity therefore does not bar IPR—a discretionary procedure through which the USPTO enforces the generally applicable statutory requirements for any patent to be valid.”

Allergan previously said that the agreement would have no impact on its patent litigation against manufacturers of proposed generic versions of the drug.

The tribe received $13.75 million as part of the agreement and is set to receive $15 million in annual royalties.

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