US News

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Pharmaceutical Law –Drug Pricing – Merck & Co Settlement - May 2008

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co recently settled two antitrust lawsuits.  The first was brought by a former employee, Dean Steike, and the second by a doctor, William Lacorte over the failure to pay government health programs rebates or discounted prices.

Merck allegedly gave discounts to hospitals that showed a preference for the cholesterol medication, Zocor, the arthritis treatment medication, Vioxx, and the indigestion medication, Pepcid, over rival products. However, it failed to issue rebates to government health programs in violation of the Medicaid Rebate Statute. More

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Intellectual Property Law - Copyright Infringement – Vicarious Liability – Liability for Copyright Infringement - April 2008

The case of Perfect 10 Inc v Visa International Service Association 83 U.S.P.Q.2d 1144 (9th Cir. 2007) involved a dispute over vicarious liability for copyright infringement. Perfect 10 operated a subscription website and published a magazine which features copyrighted images of models. The defendant in this case, Visa International Service Association, is a creditor that accepts credit card payments for the purchase of copyrighted images on competitor websites. More

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2007 Patent Reform - April 2008

The 2007 Patent Reform Act (“the Act”) is likely to herald a fundamental shift in the US patent regime. In April of 2007, the Act was introduced in both houses of Congress. If passed, the legislation will dramatically change how patents are obtained, enforced and challenged under US law. Important aspects of the Act include:

§        Changing the patent system to first-to-file

§        Restricting districts in which parties can file patent infringement suits

§        The creation of a post-grant review procedure which allows parties to challenge the validity of issued patents.

First-to-file patent system

The proposed act will change US patent law from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. It is interesting to note that the US is currently the only country in the world operating under a first-to-invent system. The current system gives priority to the application claiming the earliest invention date. The new legislation brings the US in line with nearly every other foreign country by requiring inventors to file patents early and more often in order to obtain patent protection. More

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