On July 13, a federal judge ruled in favor of Kirkland & Ellis LLP clients Forest Laboratories, Inc. and H. Lundbeck A/S in a patent infringement case against Ivax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Cipla Ltd.
Kirkland scored a major victory for Forest and Lundbeck when Judge Joseph J. Farnan, Jr. (D. Del.) upheld the patent protecting their antidepressant product Lexapro®, a product with $2 billion in annual U.S. sales. Given the magnitude of theLexapro® sales at risk, the lawsuit was extremely important to both Forest and Lundbeck.
Forest and Lundbeck initiated the legal dispute in 2003 with a lawsuit alleging infringement by Ivax. Forest and Lundbeck later expanded the case to include Cipla. Invalidating the Lexapro® patent would have allowed Ivax and Cipla to sell a generic version of the drug. Ivax and Cipla admitted to infringing the patent protecting Lexapro® through 2012, but challenged its validity and enforceability in the hopes of entering the market this year with a generic copy of the drug.
After conducting a bench trial in March and considering the post-trial briefing submitted by the parties in May, the court issued a sweeping decision in favor of Forest and Lundbeck. In the court's opinion Judge Farnan concluded that: "The evidence presented by Plaintiffs demonstrates that the patented invention is unprecedented in the prior art and that one skilled in the art would not have been able to make the invention, even if they were motivated to do so, without undue experimentation. Plaintiffs have also persuaded the court that Lexapro® . . . has superior potency and efficacy compared with citalopram and other SSRIs which has resulted in its significant success in the market and the attempts by others to partake in that success by copying Lexapro® for generic sales."
The Kirkland team was led by John Desmarais, Peter Armenio and Gerald Flattmann, Jr., and also included Maxine Graham, Ellen Scordino, Anne Toker, Christine Willgoos, Greg Morris and Mitchell Oates.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a 1,100-attorney law firm representing global clients in complex intellectual property and technology, litigation, dispute resolution and arbitration, corporate, tax and restructuring matters. The Firm has offices in New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Munich, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.