When a product or process worth stealing is created the party that is considered the innovator is the thief and the party that is considered to be standing in the way of innovation is the party that actually invented the thing int he first place. What an entirely screwed up way of viewing the world of innovation!… Obviously, this article was intended to just mention as many patent related buzz words to capture search engine traffic. How else could you pivot from from a discussion of Kyle Bass to a discussion of TC Heartland v. Kraft? … Of course, that doesn’t stop Forbes from saying that patent trolls will be in trouble if the Supreme Court decides “defendants can pull cases from the plaintiff-friendly Eastern Texas district.” But TC Heartland has absolutely nothing to do with the Eastern District of Texas, or Texas, or the South for that matter. And it has absolutely nothing to do with patent trolls either! Of course, you’d never know that from reading Forbes. In fact, you’d think the exact opposite.
Nome, Alaska and San Juan, Puerto Rico are both home to a federal courthouse where, ostensibly, under the recent Acorda Therapeutics holding and subsequent court decisions, a generic pharmaceutical company will be subject to personal jurisdiction if they file an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 817 F.3d 755 (Fed. Cir. 2016), the Federal Circuit held that an ANDA filer opens themselves up to nationwide personal jurisdiction merely by virtue of filing an ANDA application. This is a broad holding that, in effect, subjects a generic company to personal jurisdiction in any forum that has a district court.
The Federal Circuit held that Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Mylan”), a generic drug manufacturer, was subject to specific personal jurisdiction in Delaware because Mylan had filed an abbreviated new drug application (“ANDA”) and “contemplate[d] plans to engage in marketing of the proposed generic drugs” in the state. The ruling affirmed two different decisions by judges in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware that Mylan was subject to specific jurisdiction in Delaware. However, as noted below, it looks like Mylan intends to seek panel or en banc rehearing and possibly pursue a petition for certiorari if the Federal Circuit does not grant the rehearing or re-hears the case and continues to find personal jurisdiction.
The first bit of good news for Bass came with respect to his IPR petition against Celgene Corporation. Celgene Corporation filed a motion for sanctions against the Coalition for Affordable Drugs on July 28, 2015. On September 25, 2015, the PTAB, in a decision authored by Administrative Patent Judge Michael Tierney, explained that the purpose of the America Invents Act (AIA) was to “encourage the filing of meritorious patentability challenges, by any person who is not the patent owner, in an effort to improve patent quality.” Given that Bass and the Coalition for Affordable Drugs did not own the patent in question the law allows these types of challenges. The PTAB also shot down the argument that financial motivation is at all relevant, explaining on some level financial motivation is what drives all IPR challenges.
The USPTO declined to initiate an inter partes review of two patents owned by Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Acorda patents were challenged by the Coalition for Affordable Drugs, LLC, the entity formed by billionaire hedge fund manager Kyle Bass. I have to wonder whether this decision represents a shift in the worldview of the PTAB or whether they sought out a reason to deny the petition because it was filed by Kyle Bass. Unfortunately, I suspect these two denials have everything to do with who was behind the challenge and little to do with the merits of the challenge.