Justia Trademark Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Drugs & Biotech
Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.
Apotex filed suit alleging that Acorda filed a sham citizen petition with the FDA to hinder approval of Apotex's competing formulation of a drug for treating spasticity, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2, and that Acorda violated the Lanham Act's, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1), proscription on false advertising. The district court ruled that the simultaneous approval by the FDA of Apotex’s drug application and its denial of Acorda’s citizen petition was by itself insufficient to support a Sherman Act claim. The district court then granted summary judgment and dismissed all of Apotex’s false advertising claims on the grounds that (with the exception of one graph) no representation was literally false or likely to mislead consumers. In regard to the graph, Apotex failed to show that the false depiction would meaningfully impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. The court concluded that, although precedent supports an inference that a citizen petition is an anticompetitive weapon if it attacks a rival drug application and is denied the same day that the application is approved, that inference has been undercut by recent FDA guidance. As to false advertising, the court agreed with the district court that no reasonable jury could have found that Acorda made literally false or misleading representations in its advertisements, with the exception of a single representation that Apotex has failed to show affected decisions to purchase. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law
Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG
BBC, owner of the FLANAX trademark in Mexico, and its sister company, Bayer, filed suit against Belmora, owner of the FLANAX trademark in the United States, contending that Belmora used the FLANAX mark to deliberately deceive Mexican-American consumers into thinking they were purchasing BCC’s product. The court concluded that the Lanham Act’s, 15 U.S.C. 1125, plain language contains no unstated requirement that a section 43(a) plaintiff have used a U.S. trademark in U.S. commerce to bring a Lanham Act unfair competition claim; the Supreme Court’s guidance in Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc. does not allude to one, and the court's prior cases either only assumed or articulated as dicta that such a requirement existed; and therefore, the district court erred in imposing such a condition precedent upon Bayer’s claims. The court also concluded that BCC has adequately pled a section 43(a) false association claim for purposes of the zone of interests prong; BCC's allegations reflect the claim furthers the section 45 purpose of preventing the deceptive and misleading use of marks in commerce within the control of Congress; and BCC has also alleged injuries that are proximately caused by Belmora’s violations of the false association statute. Therefore, the court held that BCC has sufficiently pled a section 43(a) false association claim to survive Belmora’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Because these statements are linked to Belmora’s alleged deceptive use of the FLANAX mark, the court is satisfied that BCC’s false advertising claim, like its false association claim, comes within the Act’s zone of interests. The court inferred that the alleged advertisements contributed to the lost border sales pled by BCC, and that the claim also satisfies Lexmark’s proximate cause prong. Further, the court agreed with Bayer that the district court erred in overturning the TTAB’s section 14(3) decision because it read a use requirement into the section that is simply not there. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG" on Justia Law
Daniels Health Sciences, L.L.C v. Vascular Health Sciences, L.L.C.
DHS sued VHS for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and trademark violations. DHS engaged VHS to market and sell the drug Provasca. After that relationship ended, VHS began to manufacture, market, and sell Arterosil, a product similar in many respects to Provasca. The court held that the district court granted DHS's request for a preliminary injunction after making sufficient findings of fact to support each element of the analysis and applying the correct legal standard to those facts. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of the preliminary injunction in full and lifted the stay of the injunction. The court remanded and directed the district court to expedite the trial on the permanent injunction and to attempt to narrow the breadth of its preliminary injunction. View "Daniels Health Sciences, L.L.C v. Vascular Health Sciences, L.L.C." on Justia Law
Duopross Meditech Corp. v. Inviro Med.Devices, Ltd.
DuoProSS and Inviro sell medical syringes designed to prevent accidental needle sticks. A person using an Inviro syringe: rotates the plunger; pulls the plunger back, drawing the needle into the syringe barrel; and snaps off the plunger, sealing the needle inside. Inviro owns the two trademarks at issue: the “SNAP! design mark,” for use with “ medical, hypodermic, aspiration and injection syringes” and the “SNAP SIMPLY SAFER mark,” for use with “cannulae; medical, hypodermic, aspiration and injection needles; medical, hypodermic, aspiration and injection syringes.” Inviro petitioned to cancel a trademark registration owned by DuoProSS for the design mark BAKSNAP, for use with a “safety syringe for medical use.” DuoProSS counterclaimed for cancellation of several Inviro registrations, including the marks at issue. Inviro withdrew its petition and agreed to voluntarily surrender one registration. The Board concluded that other registrations for the SNAP mark in typed format were merely descriptive and ordered cancellation, but declined to cancel the SNAP! design mark and the SNAP SIMPLY SAFER word mark. The Federal Circuit reversed. The Board failed to consider one of the marks as a whole, unduly focusing on one portion (!) and erroneously concluded that puffing could render the marks more than descriptive.View "Duopross Meditech Corp. v. Inviro Med.Devices, Ltd." on Justia Law