Patent Ruling May Mean Trouble for Big Pharma
Not surprisingly, another big challenger of patents, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA), also welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling.
"Certainly on the surface, [it] does look like it is favorable to us," said George Barrett, president of Teva's U.S. division, during a May 2 conference call with analysts. "But we really need to digest this, and then we'll have a better read whether it has a direct impact on any of our cases."
Participants and observers in the arcane world of patent law say it will take a while before they can gauge how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and lower courts will interpret the ruling, which has already taken effect.
At first glance, they say it appears companies will have a tougher time defending patents, especially those related to incremental improvements on existing drugs, a practice known as patent life-cycle management.The Supreme Court ruling "will have a significant impact on the issue of patent life-cycle management," said Steven Ludwig, a partner in Venable LLP, a law firm whose clients include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade association for big drug companies. "The standard has been lowered. It may be easier for generic companies to invalidate patents."
Cloudy ForecastAlthough attorneys say each case is different, the ruling could influence patents on a drug's administration, for example a once-a-day pill vs. a twice-a-day pill or on different ways a drug is absorbed in the bloodstream. Chemical cousins, in which different drugs have similar molecules, also could be affected.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV