Shire Development, LLC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 16-1785 (Fed. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Shire sued Watson for infringing the 720 patent by filing an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA seeking to market a generic version of Shire’s drug, LIALDA®. The patent is directed to a controlled-release oral pharmaceutical composition of mesalamine used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases. The district court rejected Watson’s invalidity arguments that the patent lacked written description and enablement, and held that Watson infringed two claims. On appeal, and again after remand from the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit stated that the matrix compositions are “limited by the Markush groups” added during prosecution “to overcome the examiner’s rejection of the claims as obvious” and that “the correct construction requires that the inner volume contain substances from the group described for the inner lipophilic matrix (which are all lipophilic substances), and that the outer volume separately contain substances from the group described for the outer hydrophilic matrix (which are all hydrophilic).” On remand, the district court concluded that Watson’s ANDA Product satisfied the “inner lipophilic matrix” and “outer hydrophilic matrix” limitations and satisfied the Markush limitations because the excipients falling outside the respective Markush groups were “unrelated” to the invention since they did not drive the water-affinity property of their respective matrices. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded with instructions to enter judgment of non-infringement. Watson’s ANDA Product does not satisfy the Markush group requirements.