Hard-Fought Year-And-A-Half Suit, Proceeding Through Claim Construction Not Objectively Baseless

The court granted a pharmaceutical company defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Sherman § 2 monopolization and attempt claims because plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that defendant’s litigation against a competitor was objectively baseless constituting sham litigation. “⁠[T]he parties in [the underlying litigation between defendant and its competitor] engaged in a claim construction dispute addressing various elements of the ‘864 patent. If [the competitor’s product] was completely different, and bore no relationship to the [defendant’s product] (as plaintiffs allege) there would have been no reason for [the competitor] to have participated in a claims construction exercise. . . . The fact that the underlying litigation was heavily contested, while not conclusive, also weighs against a finding that the litigation was a sham. The ‘864 patent was litigated for over a year and a half before the parties came to a settlement agreement on the eve of trial. The docket indicates an active and hard-fought dispute. . . . The settlement in [the underlying suit], while not dispositive, further shows that the underlying suit did not lack any merit. . . . [Defendant] points to the fact that it is going to be paid royalties from [the competitor] in connection with the sale of [the competitor’s] products, and that the settlement delayed [the competitor’s] entry into the market until December 2016. Given the existence of the royalty payments, and the delayed entry into the market, it cannot be said that the settlement was so insignificant that the underlying litigation was obviously a sham.”

In re Lantus Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, 1-16-cv-12652 (MAD 2018-01-10, Order) (Judith G. Dein)

2018-01-12T13:08:09+00:00 January 12th, 2018|Antitrust, Docket Report|