A Texas judge on Monday invalidated the Restasis patents Allergan controversially transferred to a Native American tribe.
In his ruling, Judge William Bryson of the Eastern District of Texas wrote that it was clear Allergan made the arrangement to dodge pending inter partes review proceedings by invoking the St. Regis Mohawk tribe’s sovereign immunity. The court, he wrote, has “serious concerns” about the tactic, and while Allergan claimed to have sold the patents, it in fact paid the tribe to allow it to “rent” its sovereign immunity.
Allowing such an arrangement, Bryson wrote, would open the door to any patent-holder facing an IPR to make a similar arrangement. The result, in other words, could be the end of the IPR program altogether. Sovereign immunity, he added, is not “an inexhaustible asset that can be sold to any party that might find it convenient to purchase immunity from suit.”