Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has secured a landmark European court victory for client IMS Health against a European Comm-ission (EC) ruling.
Cleary Gottlieb's competition team persuaded the Court of First Instance to overrule an interim EC decision forcing IMS Health to share its intellectual property (IP) with competitors. IMS in-house lawyer Jim Salitan, who regularly instructs Cleary Gottlieb on competition issues, drafted in partner Nick Levy to lead the case. IMS provides data to the pharmaceutical industry and in Germany uses a data analysis format called the 1,860 Brick Structure. The copyright-protected system divides the pharmaceuticals market into 1,860 sectors, enabling pharmaceutical companies to target their products. In July, the EC ruled that IMS's refusal to license the system to competitors constituted a prima facie abuse of a dominant position. The regulator took the unusual step of ordering interim measures forcing the company to share its system with competitors. Cleary Gottlieb immediately filed an application to the court to stay the EC's decision and, for the first time since 1982, the president of the court used his powers to do so. The decision on licensing was controversial because it significantly extends EU law's reach over IP.