If we cannot protect our intellectual property, other companies could use our technology in
competitive products. If we infringe the intellectual property rights of others, other companies could prevent us from developing or marketing our products.
We seek patent protection for our technology so as to prevent others from commercializing equivalent products in substantially less time and at substantially lower expense. The pharmaceutical industry
places considerable importance on obtaining patent and trade secret protection for new technologies, products and processes. Our success will depend in part on our ability and that of parties from whom we license technology to:
defend our patents and otherwise prevent others from infringing on our proprietary rights;
protect our trade secrets; and
operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others, both in the U.S. and in other countries.
The patent position of firms relying upon biotechnology is highly uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions for which important legal
principles are unresolved. To date, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has not adopted a consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims that the USPTO allows in biotechnology patents or the degree of protection that these types of
patents afford. As a result, there are risks that we may not develop or obtain rights to products or processes that are or may seem to be patentable.
Section 505(b)(2) of the FFDCA was enacted as part of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, otherwise known as the Hatch-Waxman Act. Section 505(b)(2) permits the
submission of a NDA where at least some of the information required for approval comes from studies not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference. For example, the Hatch-Waxman Act permits an
applicant to rely upon the FDAs findings of safety and effectiveness for an approved product. The FDA may also require companies to perform one or more additional studies or measurements to support the change from the approved product. The FDA
may then approve the new formulation for all or some of the label indications for which the referenced product has been approved, or a new indication sought by the Section 505(b)(2) applicant.
To the extent that the Section 505(b)(2) applicant is relying on the FDAs findings for an already-approved product, the applicant is required
to certify to the FDA concerning any patents listed for the approved product in the FDAs Orange Book publication. Specifically, the applicant must certify that: (1) the required patent information has not been filed (paragraph I
certification); (2) the listed patent has expired (paragraph II certification); (3) the listed patent has not expired, but will expire on a particular date and approval is sought after patent expiration (paragraph III certification); or
(4) the listed patent is invalid or will not be infringed by the manufacture, use or sale of the new product (paragraph IV certification). If the applicant does not challenge the listed patents, the Section 505(b)(2) application will not
be approved until all the listed patents claiming the referenced product have expired, and once any pediatric exclusivity expires. The Section 505(b)(2) application may also not be approved until any non-patent exclusivity, such as exclusivity
for obtaining approval of a new chemical entity, listed in the Orange Book for the referenced product has expired.
If the applicant has
provided a paragraph IV certification to the FDA, the applicant must also send notice of the paragraph IV certification to the NDA holder and patent owner once the NDA has been accepted for filing by the FDA. The NDA holder and patent owner may then
initiate a legal challenge to the paragraph IV certification. The filing of a patent infringement lawsuit within 45 days of their receipt of a paragraph IV certification automatically prevents the FDA from approving the Section 505(b)(2) NDA
until the earliest of 30 months, expiration of the patent, settlement of the lawsuit or a decision in an infringement case that is favorable to the Section 505(b)(2) applicant. Thus, a Section 505(b)(2) applicant may invest a significant
amount of time and expense in the development of its products only to be subject to significant delay and patent litigation before its products may be commercialized. Alternatively, if the NDA holder or patent owner does not file a patent
infringement lawsuit within the required 45-day period, the applicants NDA will not be subject to the 30-month stay.
the approval of many products by the FDA pursuant to Section 505(b)(2), over the last few years, certain brand-name pharmaceutical companies and others have objected to the FDAs interpretation of Section 505(b)(2). If the FDA changes
its interpretation of Section 505(b)(2), this could delay or even prevent the FDA from approving any Section 505(b)(2) NDA that we submit.