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Eli Lilly Pleads for Invalidated Cialis Patent in Supreme Court

June 18, 2019

Eli Lilly is asking the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision that invalidated a Cialis patent for treatment of prostate gland enlargement.

With sales of its blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug in decline, the drugmaker is fighting to protect the drug’s exclusivity for the treatment of prostate gland enlargement—approved by the FDA in October 2011.

In a July 18, 2017 ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ordered Lilly to pay $20 million in damages for patent infringement to what Lilly called a “shadowy non-practicing entity” headquartered in Germany, Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep.

Lilly’s petition called the case “a particularly egregious example of functional claiming,” which relies on what an invention does rather than what it is. In the drug titan’s opinion, UroPep “drafted a single-step claim using purely functional language to assert ownership over the use of a huge universe of compounds, including the active ingredient in a commercially successful product already on the market.”

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