Washington, D.C. partner Mercedes Meyer was quoted at length in the Philadelphia Inquirer in advance of the decision in Myriad, and predicting its outcome. She was later quoted in Science Magazine and World Intellectual Property Review. Mercedes discussed the recent Supreme Court ruling in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., a highly political and controversial ruling which held that human genes are not patentable. Controversy surrounded the decision which centered on the genes associated with increased risk of breast and other cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2. While the genes were held to be patent ineligible, cDNAs encoding the proteins were found to be patent eligible. The wording of the decision has paved the way for additional confusion in the patent industry as a whole, and not just to biotechnology companies as discussed by former Patent Office Commissioner Bob Stoll in his related article in Forbes.
Speaking to Science Magazine, Mercedes said that while the U.S. patent system is the envy of the industrialized world, it is “under attack” and being turned into “Swiss cheese” thanks to decisions like the court’s ruling on DNA. She said that the legal situation on what is patentable for biotech firms has only become “muddier.”
Speaking to CNBC on the Supreme Court ruling in Actavis, Mercedes said “You have to treat those things very, very carefully,” noting that the pay-for-delay settlements continue to be potential targets for FTC or class-action litigation that could end up costing the companies involved more money than they expected to save from doing the deals. The decision is based on the rule of reason and will allow the FTC to continue challenging “pay-for-delay” deals between pharmaceutical companies and generic drug makers on anti-competitive grounds. Mercedes expressed her opinion that the case will end badly for pharma companies and their generic competitors as they will be uncertain of the financial benefits and risks when they enter into such deals because their legitimacy may be challenged.
To read the Philadelphia Inquirer article, please click here.
To read the CNBC article, please click here.
To read the Science Mag article, please click here.