Teva Told to Pay Glaxo $235.5 Million for Infringing Patent

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By Dana A. Elfin (Bloomberg BNA) and Christopher Yasiejko (Bloomberg)

A federal jury June 20 awarded GlaxoSmithKline $234.11 million in lost profits and $1.4 million in royalties for Teva’s infringement of a patent for Coreg, a beta-blocker used to treat congestive heart failure ( GlaxoSmithKline LLC v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., D. Del., No. 14-cv-00878, jury verdict 6/20/17 ).

The verdict, handed down June 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, is particularly noteworthy because juries normally don’t decide pharmaceutical patent litigation matters in Hatch-Waxman Act cases.

“That a jury decided liability and damages in this very complex case is noteworthy, and I expect that the industry will take note,” Oren D. Langer of Robins Kaplan LLP in New York told Bloomberg BNA in a June 21 email. Langer’s practice focuses on patent litigation, including Hatch-Waxman litigation.

“The industry will take note because having a jury decide a pharmaceutical patent litigation is a rarity unto itself,” Langer said. “It’s a data point to consider in the context of future business decisions.”

In addition to awarding damages, the jurors also rejected arguments that the patent was invalid. Judge Leonard P. Stark presided over the trial.

The GSK patent at issue covered a method of treatment to reduce mortality from congestive heart failure. The patent expired in June 2015 but the verdict was based on Teva’s sales of its generic version of Coreg (carvedilol) before the patent expired.

Teva launched its generic in 2007.

Teva Disappointed

Teva said it was disappointed with the result and hoped the court would eliminate or reduce the damages award at a future hearing.

“We still intend to present our equitable defenses to the court at a separate hearing which could eliminate the liability determination or significantly reduce the assessed damages,” Teva spokeswoman Elizabeth DeLuca told Bloomberg BNA in a June 21 email.

The company is also considering an appeal, she said.

Modification Unlikely

Langer said the judge is unlikely to disturb the jury’s verdict.

“Judges typically do not like to take factual and damages-related determinations out of the hands of a jury,” he said. “Provided that the jury assessed the facts and came up with their damages figures in a reasonable fashion, I do not believe that Judge Stark will modify the award.”

Meanwhile, GSK said it was pleased with the outcome of the trial in a June 21 statement provided to Bloomberg BNA.

Case Atypical

“This was not a typical Hatch-Waxman case,” Langer told Bloomberg BNA. “Normally, the fact-finder—a judge—determines liability by assessing what will happen based, in large part, on defendant’s statements to the FDA in its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA),” he said.

“Here, we have not only those statements, but also facts concerning what actually happened after approval by the FDA and the launch of Teva’s product. That conduct and commercial data resulting therefrom allows a jury to decide liability and come up with a damages number, which it did in its Verdict Form,” he said.

Fish & Richardson, P.C. represented Glaxo.

Goodwin Procter LLP and Shaw Keller LLP represented Teva.

—With assistance from Susan Decker.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dana A. Elfin (Bloomberg BNA) in Washington at delfin@bna.com; Christopher Yasiejko (Bloomberg) in Wilmington, Del., at cyasiejko1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brian Broderick (Bloomberg BNA) at bbroderick@bna.com; Jon Morgan (Bloomberg) at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

For More Information

The jury verdict form is available at http://src.bna.com/p4A.

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