Teva has certainly been busy with a number of legal challenges of late, yesterday one filed against Amgen too. The challenge of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical business is certainly heating up. Teva produces generic drugs for the most part and states their efforts are coming forth to keep pharmaceuticals affordable. Merck releases their statement on the issue below.
“Reexamination is an administrative procedure within the PTO that can be initiated by any person. Essentially, if a potential new issue of invalidity is raised, the PTO will examine this issue and determine whether it should take any further action regarding the current claims of the patent. In the event that the PTO decides further action is warranted, it may amend or revoke the claims in the patent.
The reexamination is under the direction of the PTO and we cannot speculate how long it will take. According to the PTO website, the average time it takes the PTO to decide ex parte reexaminations is roughly 24 months. The PTO's decision can be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit before it becomes final.
Merck firmly believes that the SINGULAIR patent is valid and enforceable. We do not believe that the reexamination will affect the litigation currently pending in the U.S. between Merck and Teva.”