NAFTA patent spat rages on between Canada and Lilly
- A battle that started several years ago between Canada and Lilly is raging on as Lilly accuses Canada of not protecting patent rights, and Canada calls Lilly's efforts to obtain additional patents for two of its antipsychotics "scattershot," the WSJ reports. The drugs in questions are the antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine) and the ADHD drug Strattera (atomoxetine).
- Two years ago, Lilly filed for arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as part of an investor-state dispute, with the goal of proving that the Canadian courts unfairly ruled against its patent applications for line extensions.
- Canada issued a long response to Lilly's dispute claim, saying that Lilly's numerous efforts to gain line extensions for various uses for both drugs between 1992 and 2004 amounted to a quest for a monopoly. Canada also pointed out that this behavior stifles not only competition, but also innovation.
According to the response from Canada, Lilly filed numerous patent applications between 1992 and 2004 claiming numerous new uses for Strattera, including things such as psoriasis, stuttering, incontinence and hot flashes.
As for Zyprexa, between 1995 and 1998, Lilly filed 16 different patent applications for the drug, including treating excessive aggression, fungal dermatitis, bipolar disorder, and insomnia. The main point of Canada's counter-claim is that many of these patent applications were not underscored by experimental data, and were therefore not valid.
For its part, Lilly continues to stand by its position that Canada should not have invalidated its patents and that Canada does not protect IP sufficiently.