Crestor of a wave
(and shareholders) at AstraZeneca will be relieved today after
the company settled a challenge from generic rivals over the
company’s cholesterol drug Crestor. The
deal will see Watson Laboratories drop its litigation in
the US courts over the validity of the Crestor substance
patent. In return Watson can sell a generic version of the
product from May 2 2016 if it pays AstraZeneca 39% of net sales
until the end of pediatric exclusivity on July 8 2016.
But cosy deals between originator and generic drugs
companies are under threat. Today the
US Supreme Court begins hearing arguments from government
antitrust officials concerned about the competition effects of
such agreements. The Federal Trade Commission’s
case against a group of pharmaceutical companies focuses on
reverse-payment agreements are anticompetitive and
unlawful. Several amicus briefs have been filed, from economics
professors and the AIPLA to the IPO and consumer groups,
indicating that there is plenty of interest in the case, and
lots of cash at stake.
Google AdWords policy goes global
Trade mark attorneys always welcome harmonisation in
international law and practice, right? Well perhaps not when
the standardisation involves dismantling existing protection
for trade mark owners.
Google last week revealed its latest policy on AdWords,
explaining that from April 23 it will no longer restrict the
use of trade marks as AdWords in China, Hong Kong, Macau,
Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil. The
change means that Google now has just one policy on AdWords,
after bringing these eight jurisdictions in line with its
international approach. It shifts the onus for trade mark
protection from Google to the affected brand owner, who will be
able to complain about the use of their trade mark in
advertising text. Google explains: "[A] consistent policy and
user experience worldwide benefits users, advertisers and
trademark owners alike". But do trade mark owners agree?
Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, who have been
US patent for a messaging service whereby users follow each
other and send messages to non-specific recipients –
in other words, tweeting. Stone immediately tweeted: "Look Ma,
I’m officially an inventor (my dream as a kid)!"
There’s some concern on the web that the patent
over-broad. But, as we have
blogged previously, twitter has a policy only to use IP for
defensive purposes. Let’s see how long that lasts,
now the patents have started to be granted.
Where’s the action?
"Action Plan" are two words that always sink the spirits,
and the recently published
Council Resolution on the EU Customs Action Plan to combat IPR
infringements for the years 2013 to 2017 is no exception.
Once you’ve got through the legalese, the
platitudes and the review of the previous Action Plan
(2009-2012 – I hope you didn’t miss it?)
you finally come to a list of "specific objectives".
Unfortunately, they seem to be neither specific nor
particularly original. Moreover, some of them just seem to
promise more bureaucracy and further pointless discussion. Are
we wrong to be so cynical? I suppose at least we have reason to
hope that under Paul
Maier the new EU
OHIM Observatory might provide some more practical and
useful services for IP owners who are the victims of
counterfeiting and piracy.