Grunenthal GMBH v. Alkem Laboratories Limited, No. 17-1153 (Fed. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The patents at issue are listed in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Orange Book) for NUCYNTA® ER (extended release), a tapentadol hydrochloride tablet. The 364 patent is directed to the Form A polymorph of the chemical compound tapentadol hydrochloride and a method of treating pain and/or urinary incontinence and states that Form A “is very stable at ambient conditions and therefore useful for producing a pharmaceutical composition.” The 130 patent describes a method of using tapentadol and tapentadol hydrochloride for the treatment of polyneuropathic pain, which is caused by damage to multiple nerves. In an infringement suit, stemming from Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) filings seeking to market generic versions of immediate and extended release tapentadol hydrochloride tablets, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court in finding that the 364 patent is not invalid for obviousness or lack of utility (the defendants had stipulated to infringement) and that the ANDA filings do not infringe the 130 patent, which is not invalid as anticipated.