Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Allegation of Non-infringement Need Not Be Put “In Play”

Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences v Teva / efavirenz (NOC) 2015 FCA 3 Near JA: Dawson, Stratas JJA aff’g 2014 FC 30 Barnes J
             2,279,198 / efavirenz / ATRIPLA

In this NOC proceeding, the FCA has affirmed Barnes J’s decision that the patentee failed to established that Teva’s product would infringe the ‘198 patent for a particular crystalline form of efavirenz. The decision at first instance (blogged here) turned entirely on the facts, and the FCA affirmed on the basis that the appellant patentee had not established and palpable and overriding error.

The only point of general legal interest is that the FCA held that when non-infringement is alleged in an NOC proceeding, there is no evidentiary burden on a generic to adduce evidence in order to put that allegation “in play.” It is enough to make the allegation in the NOA, and the burden is then on the patentee to prove infringement on the balance of probabilities [11], [8]. This is in contrast to an allegation of invalidity, in which the generic must adduce some evidence to put the allegation of invalidity into play before the burden shifts to the patentee to disprove invalidity. The reason for the difference is the presumption of validity under s 43(2) of the Act [10].

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