Photo: Courtesy of Eli Lilly
19 February 2016Big Pharma

Janssen denied stay in patent dispute with Eli Lilly

The English High Court has rejected Janssen Sciences’ request for a stay in its patent infringement and invalidity dispute with Eli Lilly.

In a ruling handed down yesterday, February 18, Justice Vivien Rose rejected Janssen’s request and said the dispute should progress as the case will also deal with “important infringement claims”.

The lawsuit, brought by Eli Lilly, seeks to revoke one of Janssen’s divisional patents.

Eli Lilly is also seeking a declaration that its proposed anti-body solanezumab, intended to treat Alzheimer’s, does not infringe the patent.

Eli Lilly first filed a claim in 2011 against the parent patent, EP number 1,994,937. In a judgment handed down in 2013, Mr Justice Arnold invalidated it.

In June 2013, the Opposition Division at the European Patent Office (EPO) also invalidated the ‘937 patent after Eli Lilly had opposed it.

Janssen appealed against the EPO decision in October 2013 and the oral proceedings are scheduled to take place in May this year.

But a divisional patent, EP number 2,305,282, the UK designation of which is at issue in these proceedings, was granted by the EPO shortly after Arnold invalidated the ‘937 patent.

Eli Lilly has also opposed the EPO’s decision to approve the divisional patent. The oral proceedings centring on that opposition are scheduled to take place in June.

Janssen claimed that the proceedings should be stayed pending the decision of the EPO on the patent’s validity.

Rejecting Janssen’s claim, Rose wrote: “It may be that the EPO proceedings do produce a clear determination in Eli Lilly’s favour rendering the English proceedings redundant.

“However, there is a chance that even though the EPO proceedings are resolved before the English proceedings, they will not be determinative of all the issues between these parties.”

She added: “The infringement issues are important in this case and it is better that the English proceedings, which are before the only forum in which the infringement issue can be decided, continue.”

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