Lizza at Supreme Court Argument in Patent Case

Lizza at Supreme Court Argument in Patent Case
Justices Ask Tough Questions In AIA On-Sale Bar Case
December 4, 2018
Matthew Bultman

On December 4, 2018, Charles M. Lizza, chair of the Firm's Intellectual Property Litigation Practice, joined the legal team representing Helsinn Healthcare S.A. ("Helsinn") at the U.S. Supreme Court for oral argument in the case of Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals. At trial in the case, Mr. Lizza defended Helsinn’s patents covering its Aloxi® product. Helsinn’s sales of Aloxi® are approximately $600 million annually. After a 10-day bench trial in June 2016, U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper issued a 167-page Opinion and Judgment in favor of Helsinn on all issues, upholding the patents and enjoining Teva from manufacturing or selling a generic version of the drug until Helsinn’s patents expire in 2024. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, interpreting the America Invents Act to invalidate the Aloxi patents.  Helsinn appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its petition for certiorari, Helsinn argued that the ruling is “indefensible” and the result of a “profoundly flawed analysis.” Legal experts have said the lower court’s ruling could put many patents at risk; therefore, the case has been closely watched by the pharmaceutical industry and the intellectual property bar.

At oral argument the Justices asked difficult questions of both parties, questioning whether, under the America Invents Act, an inventor’s sale of an invention through a distribution agreement with a third party under a confidentiality agreement qualifies as prior art for determining patentability.  A decision is expected in 2019.

Read more about the case here.