International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges has announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has decided in favor of firm client Merck & Co., Inc. in the company's patent infringement suit against Teva Pharmaceuticals. Filed in 2007, the lawsuit centered upon Merck's SINGULAIR® (montelukast sodium), one of the world's leading prescribed branded respiratory medications. Teva sought approval to market montelukast tablets from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration before the expiration of Merck's patent rights for SINGULAIR® . Weil Gotshal filed suit on behalf of Merck under the Hatch-Waxman Act, triggering a 30-month stay against Teva and the marketing of its generic drug preventing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from approving Teva's generic product.
Teva contended at trial that the claims asserted by Merck against Teva's generic montelukast products were invalid because they were obvious over certain previously published articles and patents. Teva also contended that Merck had committed inequitable conduct during the procurement of its montelukast patent by failing to disclose certain prior art references to the patent office. This morning, Judge Garrett E. Brown rejected those contentions and upheld Merck's patent on SINGULAIR® , writing that the patent is "valid and enforceable," and ruling that Teva's application to market a copy of the drug constitutes infringement.
Powers and Houston-based partner Nicolas Barzoukas led the Weil Gotshal litigation team, which included associates Jason Abair (Houston), Peter Sandel (New York), Josh Davis (Houston), Audrey Maness (Houston), and Rebecca Fett (New York).