Senators Accuse Allergan of Subverting the Patent System

November 10, 2017

A group of Democratic senators joined House members in pressing Allergan for information about its provocative patent deal with the St. Regis Mohawk Indian tribe.

The source of their ire was Allergan’s September agreement to transfer to the tribe the company’s patent rights to the blockbuster dry-eye drug Restasis. Under the agreement, the tribe licensed the patents back to Allergan for an up-front payment of nearly $14 million and annual royalties of up to $15 million; in return, the tribe pledged to invoke its sovereign immunity in claiming the patents are not subject to review by the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The letter asked for details of the agreement, company memos on legal positions and whether Allergan has plans for similar deals for other drugs with the Mohawks, other tribes or other sovereign entities such as state universities.

Two Republicans and two Democrats from the House Oversight Committee sent Allegan a similar letter in October.

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