The question of whether a specific vitamin regimen can be trademarked was settled recently when Eli Lilly successfully retained its right to patent an injectable treatment called Alimta (pemetrexed) for patients with certain non-small cell lung cancers.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board decided in the company’s favor following challenge proceedings from Neptune Generics and Sandoz, Lilly said in a release.
If upheld, the PTO decision is effective until May 2022, protecting Lilly from competition by manufactured generic equivalents, the release said.
"We are pleased with today's ruling by the U.S. PTO finding the claims of the Alimta vitamin regimen patent are valid," Michael Harrington, Lilly’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in the release. "This ruling largely confirms the earlier decision of the district court which was affirmed on appeal by a unanimous court."
Harrington said in the release that Lilly’s proprietary research qualified for intellectual property rights, noting that the issue is of critical importance in the biopharmaceutical field.
Alimta was previously affirmed as patentable in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana in 2014 and again in 2015, the release said. In January 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously upheld the ruling, concluding that the patent is valid and protectable against infringement.