Minter Ellison represents pharmaceutical companies in patent infringement case

In a unanimous five-judge Full Federal Court decision handed down on 12 August, AstraZeneca has once again failed to prevent generic companies from selling competing generic versions of its Crestor (rosuvastatin) cholesterol drug. Minter Ellison represented Watson and Ascent in this matter.

In 2011–12, AstraZeneca, the holder of three Crestor-related patents, commenced infringement proceedings against generic pharmaceutical companies Watson and Ascent (both now part of the Actavis Group) and Apotex. AstraZeneca was relying on patents concerning dosage ranges, methods of treatment and pharmaceutical compositions respectively.

Last year, the Federal Court held that the generic companies’ products would not infringe AstraZeneca’s patents and, in any event, all three patents were partially or wholly invalid on numerous grounds.

The Full Federal Court has now upheld that earlier decision, finding that two of the patents were invalid (the trial judge’s findings on the third patent were not appealed), dismissing AstraZeneca’s appeal and ordering it to pay 80 per cent of the generic companies’ costs of the appeal.

The Minter Ellison team representing Watson and Ascent was led by intellectual property partner Wayne McMaster and included senior associates Jonathan Kelp and Nadia Spiccia, assisted by associate Amy Surkis.