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Court declines to block drug ruling in patent case

•  National News     updated  2014/04/21 14:50


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday declined to temporarily block a lower court ruling that opens the world's best-selling multiple sclerosis drug to competition from generic rivals next month.

The decision is a victory for rivals challenging the patents of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., maker of the drug Copaxone.

Teva claims the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wrongly overturned five of its patents for the drug. That ruling allows rivals Mylan Inc., Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sandoz, Inc., to start selling cheaper generic versions in May instead of September 2015.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case, but arguments won't take place until its new term begins in October and it could be next year before a decision is reached. Teva said it would suffer irreparable harm if the appeals court decision was not postponed. Copaxone brought the company $3.2 billion in U.S. sales last year.

In a one-page ruling, Roberts said he was not convinced Teva would suffer such harm. If Teva ultimately prevails in the case, Roberts said, the company would be able to recover damages from the generic rivals for past patent infringement. He acknowledged that Teva has "a fair prospect" of ultimately winning the case at the high court.

Roberts oversees emergency appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears appeals in patent cases.



Thirty years ago, big media companies failed to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings.

Now they're back — and trying to rein in a different innovation that they say threatens their financial well-being.

The battle has moved out of viewers' living rooms, where people once marveled at their ability to pop a cassette into a recorder and capture their favorite programs or the sporting event they wouldn't be home to see.

The new legal fight shifts to the Supreme Court Tuesday with arguments against a startup business using Internet-based technology to give subscribers the ability to watch programs anywhere they can take portable devices.

Aereo takes free television signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers in 11 cities.



An appeals court said Wednesday that federal officials should have consulted wildlife agencies about potential harm to a tiny, threatened fish before issuing contracts for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service in renewing 41 contracts a decade ago. The appeals court sent the case back to a trial judge for further proceedings.

The ruling arises from one of several lawsuits filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmentalists seeking to protect the Delta smelt. The ruling won't affect water flows because protections for the smelt were kept in place during the lawsuit.

"This about how we are going to manage the water in the future," said Douglas Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Water-rights holders and government lawyers argued that consultation wasn't necessary because the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was required to renew the contracts and had no discretion over terms of the agreement that would control water levels in the Delta.



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