Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pfizer v. Teva Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer (Warner-Lambert) seeks construction of the claim term "saccharides" that includes polysaccharides, such that Warner-Lambert's generic version of their patented pharmaceutical compositions commonly used to treat high-blood pressure. The C.A.F.C. sites Philips for the proposition that a "person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to read the claim term not only in the context of the particular claim in which the disputed term appears, but in the context of the entire patent, including the specification." The specification included a section entitled "saccharides," which includes substances compatible with the alkali or alkaline earth metal-containing stabilizers, preferably mannitol, lactose, and other sugars. Since each of these preferences have less than ten monosaccharide units, Teva (Ranbaxy) argues that saccharides should not include polysaccharides. The C.A.F.C. found that the specification enabled the claim language "saccharides" to include "polysaccharides."

Ranbaxy contends that Warner-Lambert is not irreparable harmed because other competition is in the marketplace and Warner-Lambert has granted licenses. A court may presume irreparably harm when "a patent owner establishes a strong showing of likely infringement of a valid and enforceable patent." Warner-Lambert showed sales of Ranbaxy's product far in excess of the competition. Warner-Lambert only granted a license under the patent to a product different from the infringing product in this case. The C.A.F.C. found that lower court did not abuse its discretion by presuming irreparable harm.

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