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Native American Tribe Moves to Dismiss Challenge to Holding of Allergan Patents

Sept. 28, 2017

The Saint Regis Mohawk tribe asked a federal agency to dismiss several challenges of the patents it now holds for Allergan, arguing the tribe is a sovereign nation and immune to such challenges.

In early September, the drugmaker announced it had transferred its patents for Restasis, its dry-eye drug, to the tribe to protect the patents from inter partes review challenges before the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeals Board. The move does not affect conventional lawsuits in the courts.

Mylan, which is seeking to market Restasis imitators, called the move “desperate.” Others termed it innovative, and likely to be copied.

The tribe will license the drug back to Allergan, for millions in payments. Shortly after Allergan announced the licensing deal, Mylan went to federal court to challenge the assignment to the tribe of six of the patents, accusing the company of exploiting the tribe’s sovereignty to undercut potential competition.

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