When one business violates the intellectual property rights of anther, that business can be held financially responsible for the violation. Before damages can be assigned, a company must first prove that they had intellectual property rights to begin with and that those rights were violated. In order to show these things, the company must file a case in a New Jersey court. These legal battles can be drawn out and complex.
Recently, a 10-year-old intellectual property suit has finally settled. The suit filed in a New Jersey court was between Pfizer Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Limited and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Limited. In this suit Pfizer claimed that Teva and Sun were both violating one of its patents by selling a generic version of the drug before the patent expired. This patent was for the medication Protonix, which is used to treat acid reflux.
In the suit, Sun and Teva questioned the validity of the patent. However, a New Jersey court found that the patent for the medication was valid and that the companies were infringing on Pfizer’s rights. A separate trial was just starting to determine financial damage done by the infringement when the parties settled the litigation.
According to the terms of the settlement, Teva and Sun will pay Pfizer $2.15 billion in damages. Specifically, Teva will pay $1.6 billion and Sun will pay $800 million. As part of the settlement, each company also admitted that they violated the patent.
Intellectual property cases, like this one, can cost companies a lot of money and a lot of time. In order to try to avoid costly and time consuming litigation, companies should make sure their intellectual property is protected from the beginning. With the right help, companies can ensure all the steps are taken to register or apply for the correct intellectual property protections.
Source: News-Medical, “Pfizer receives $2.15 billion settlement from Teva and Sun for patent-infringement damages,” June 15, 2013