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May 17, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2012 — Covington & Burling scored a major victory recently in an antitrust class action case involving allegations of sham litigation, when the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia granted summary judgment in favor of Covington’s client Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (formerly Biovail Corp.) and co-defendant GlaxoSmithKline.
The case, In re Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation, concerned Wellbutrin XL, a blockbuster drug that treats depression. Plaintiffs alleged that Biovail filed sham patent cases against four generic drug manufacturers and also filed a sham Citizen Petition with the FDA that allegedly delayed the marketing of generic versions of Wellbutrin XL. Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ruled that the four patent lawsuits either had an objective basis or caused no delay. The court also ruled that allegedly sham portions of the Citizen Petition caused no injury to any of the plaintiffs.
Allegations that patent holders have delayed generic drug competition by filing baseless patent suits have been a major focus of class action antitrust litigation in recent years. Plaintiffs’ counsel have successfully prosecuted a number of cases of this type. This is the second time that this team of Covington attorneys has prevailed on summary judgment against such allegations (the other, In re K-Dur Antitrust Litigation, is currently on appeal to the Third Circuit). One claim remains in the Wellbutrin XL litigation, and the district court is expected to rule on summary judgment as to that claim in the near future.
The Covington team was led by John Nields and included Andrew Lazerow, Thomas Isaacson, Ashley Bass, and David Shaw.