Merck Gets Largest Canadian Pharma Patent Damages Win, Ever Entered Against A Generic Infringer

Apotex and Merck have a series of patent battles, in various stages of progress, around the globe — on a number of drug franchises. But this is one battle we haven’t mentioned before. This one has come out all Merck — all the time.

And so, earlier this week, Merck took home a $180 million recovery from Apotex’s Canadian operations — for what the Canadian judge called a clear violation of Merck’s patent rights in and to lovastatin — a cholesterol management medicine.

Do go read all of the Lexology.com Canadian case summary — but here is a bit:

. . . .This case dates back to 1993, when Apotex served a Notice of Allegation in which it undertook not to infringe Merck’s lovastatin patent if it obtained a Notice of Compliance (NOC). After obtaining its NOC, Apotex promptly moved its lovastatin production to a remote location in China. At the liability trial, the Federal Court found, contrary to Apotex’s undertaking, that 70% of the lovastatin made or imported by Apotex infringed Merck’s lovastatin patent and ordered a trial to quantify Merck’s damages. . . .

In the result, the Court found that Merck is entitled to its lost profits [and substantial pre-judgement interest payments] arising from Apotex’s infringement. . . .

Regular readers will recall that earlier in the second quarter, 2013, Merck lost a patent suit here in the US, to Apotex, on the Nasonex® patents. That charge may well appear in the July 30, 2013 earnings release — but may now be offset by an accrual for this $180 million win, in Canada — in the rolled up, consolidated results.

We will keep you posted.

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