Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Gaming IP: Smart or Damaging the Entire System
Here is an interesting case of gaming the IP system. I believe this type of tactic hurts the IP system as whole even if we may disagree about the need for reforms.
The New York Times has an informative article titled, “How to Protect a Drug Patent? Give It to a Native American Tribe.” The article describes how Allergen, the pharmaceutical company:
will pay the [Native American] tribe $13.75 million. In exchange, the tribe will claim sovereign immunity as grounds to dismiss a patent challenge through a unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The tribe will lease the patents back to Allergan, and will receive $15 million in annual royalties as long as the patents remain valid.
As discussed in the article, this is apparently a strategy to protect the patents from Inter Partes Review Proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As discussed in other posts, public universities have successfully claimed sovereign immunity under the 11th amendment of the U.S. Constitution from IPR Proceedings. I doubt this strategy will last long. I can understand how Allergen may think this may play well with the public because Native American tribes will receive much needed funding, but really? This looks very bad. Of course, folks are going to start asking what that funding is being used for.