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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
ABBOTT LABORATORIES, INC.;GENEVA PHARMACEUTICALSTECHNOLOGY CORPORATION,
ABBOTT LABORATORIES, INC.;GENEVA PHARMACEUTICALS
Appeal from the United States District Court
John F. Walter, District Judge, Presiding
Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, and William A. Fletcher,
David C. Frederick, KELLOGG HUBER HANSEN TODD &EVANS, Washington, D.C., W. Scott Simmer, Hardy Vieux,ROBINS, KAPLAN, MILLER & CIRESI, Minneapolis, Min-nesota, for the appellant.
Paul Olszowka, WILDMAN, HARROLD, ALLEN &DIXON, Chicago, Illinois, Rohit K. Singla, MUNGER TOL-LES & OLSON, San Francisco, California, Stuart Neil Sena-tor, Jeffrey I. Weinberger, MUNGER TOLLES & OLSON,Los Angeles, California, Bryan Alexander Merryman,WHITE & CASE, Los Angeles, California, Robert A. Milne,WHITE & CASE, New York, New York, for the appellees.
Plaintiff-Appellant Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
(“Kaiser”) sued Defendants-Appellees Abbott Laboratories(“Abbott”) and Geneva Pharmaceuticals (“Geneva”) for viola-tions of the Sherman Antitrust Act and analogous provisionsof California law. Kaiser brought a claim under Section Oneof the Sherman Act against both Abbott and Geneva, and aclaim under Section Two against only Abbott. A multidistrictlitigation federal district court in Florida allowed Kaiser’sSection One claim to go to trial. The suit was transferred toa federal district court in California for trial on that claim. Thejury returned a verdict against Kaiser. The district court in
Florida granted summary judgment against Kaiser on its Sec-tion Two claim.
We affirm the judgment entered on the jury’s verdict on
Kaiser’s Section One claim. We reverse summary judgmenton Kaiser’s Section Two claim and remand for further pro-ceedings.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”), 21
U.S.C. §§ 301 et seq.
, governs the sale and manufacture ofprescription drugs in the United States. Any entity seeking todistribute a new prescription drug must file a New DrugApplication (“NDA”) with the Food and Drug Administration(“FDA”). The application must include “full reports of inves-tigations which have been made to show whether or not suchdrug is safe for use and whether such drug is effective in use.”21 U.S.C. § 355(b)(1)(A). Upon approval by the FDA, a drugmay be manufactured and sold in the United States. Drugsapproved by the FDA under the NDA process are commonlyreferred to as “brand-name” drugs.
Brand-name drugs are typically protected by patents at the
time of their approval by the FDA, and for a number of yearsthereafter. A patent holder has the exclusive right to make,use and sell the patented invention during the life of thepatent. 35 U.S.C. § 154(a). A manufacturer of a brand-namedrug protected by a patent is able to sell the drug at monopolyprices.
The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration
Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the “Hatch-WaxmanAct” or “Hatch-Waxman,” was passed to facilitate theapproval of generic versions of brand-name drugs. 21 U.S.C.
§ 355. Under Hatch-Waxman, a manufacturer seeking FDAapproval of a new brand-name drug must file with its NDAthe patent number and expiration date of
any patent which claims the drug for which theapplicant submitted the application or which claimsa method of using such drug and with respect towhich a claim of patent infringement could reason-ably be asserted if a person not licensed by theowner engaged in the manufacture, use, or sale ofthe drug.
. § 355(b)(1). The brand-name drug and its associate patentor patents are then published in the “Approved Drug Productswith Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations,” commonlyreferred to as the “Orange Book.”
Under Hatch-Waxman, a drug manufacturer seeking FDA
approval for a generic version of a brand-name drug may filean Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) showingthat its proposed generic drug is the “bioequivalent” of analready approved brand-name drug. Id
. § 355(j). The ANDAshall contain, with respect to patents for the already approvedbrand-name drug listed in the Orange Book,
(I) that such patent information has not been filed,
(III) of the date on which such patent will expire, or
(IV) that such patent is invalid or will not beinfringed by the manufacture, use, or sale of the newdrug for which the application is submitted[.]
. § 355(j)(2)(A)(vii). Such a certification is referred to as a“Paragraph I,” “Paragraph II,” “Paragraph III,” or “ParagraphIV” certification. The first ANDA applicant for approval of ageneric version of a particular brand-name drug who makesa Paragraph IV certification is guaranteed a 180-day period of
exclusive distribution of the generic drug if that drug isapproved by the FDA. The 180-day period begins either onthe date the applicant notifies the FDA of its first “commer-cial marketing” of the generic drug, or on the date of the judi-cial decision holding the patent invalid or not infringed,whichever is earlier. Id
. § 355(j)(5)(B)(iv).
An ANDA applicant who makes a Paragraph IV certifica-
tion must notify the patent holder of that certification. Id
§ 355(j)(2)(B). If an ANDA contains a Paragraph IV certifica-
tion, FDA approval of the proposed generic drug must be
“made effective immediately unless . . . an action is brought
for infringement of the patent that is the subject of the certifi-
cation” within forty-five days of the patent holder receiving
notice of the certification. Id
. § 355(j)(5)(B)(iii). If a patent
holder brings suit within forty-five days, FDA approval will
not become effective until thirty months after the receipt of
the notice, subject to certain exceptions. Id
. This thirty-month
delay is commonly referred to as the “automatic stay.” An
exception to the thirty-month automatic stay is a final court
decision in the patent holder’s infringement suit that the
patent is invalid or not infringed. In the event of such a court
decision, FDA approval “shall be made effective on the date
on which the court enters judgment reflecting the decision” if
the court decision is less than thirty months after receipt of the
. § 355(j)(5)(B)(iii)(I).
If a patent holder fails to bring an infringement suit within
forty-five days of receipt of a Paragraph IV notification, itloses the right to the thirty-month automatic stay of FDAapproval of the proposed generic drug. However, the patentholder does not lose the right to bring an infringement suitagainst the generic drug manufacturer; the patent holder sim-ply loses the right to bring the infringement suit under Hatch-
At the time relevant to our case, FDA regulations provided that a final
court decision meant the decision of an appellate court or an unappealeddecision of a district court. 21 C.F.R. § 314.107(e) (1989).
Waxman. A patent holder who misses the forty-five day dead-line for bringing a Hatch-Waxman infringement suit sufferstwo significant disadvantages. First, the patent holder cannotbring an infringement suit immediately upon the filing of theANDA; it must wait until the generic drug is sold commer-cially. See
35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1). See generally Merck KGaAv. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd.
, 545 U.S. 193 (2005). Second,there is no automatic stay barring the FDA from approvingthe generic drug. Once approved, its manufacturer may sellthe generic drug during the pendency of any infringement suitbrought by the patent holder.
II. Factual Background and Procedural History
Plaintiff-appellant Kaiser is a health care provider that buys
large quantities of prescription drugs. Defendant-appelleeAbbott is a large developer and manufacturer of brand-namedrugs. Defendant-appellee Geneva is a large developer andmanufacturer of generic drugs.
Abbott sought and obtained FDA approval through the
NDA process to sell terazosin hydrochloride as a brand-namedrug to treat hypertension and enlarged prostate. Abbottbegan selling terazosin hydrochloride, in tablet and capsuleform, under the brand name Hytrin in 1987. The sale ofHytrin was extremely lucrative. In 1998, Hytrin generated$540 million in sales, accounting for more than twenty per-cent of Abbott’s domestic sales of pharmaceutical products.
Abbott submitted three patents, described below, for inclu-
sion in the Orange Book in connection with its NDA for tera-zosin hydrochloride.
Patent 4,026,894 (“the ’894 patent”) was filed on October
14, 1975, and issued on May 31, 1977. It protected terazosinhydrochloride. The ’894 patent expired on May 31, 1994. Nogeneric drug manufacturer ever challenged the validity of the
’894 patent or sought to market a generic terazosin hydrochlo-ride product before its expiration.
Patent 4,112,097 (“the ’097 patent”), a divisional applica-
tion of the ’894 patent, was filed on January 21, 1977, andissued on September 5, 1978. It protected a pharmaceuticalcomposition of terazosin hydrochloride for treating hyperten-sion and a method for treating hypertension with the drug.
The ’097 patent was scheduled to expire on September 5,1995. In separate litigation, Abbott argued that the UruguayRound Agreements Act extended the ’097 patent’s term untilJanuary 21, 1997. The Federal Circuit rejected Abbott’s argu-ment and held that the patent had expired on October 14,1995. See Abbott Labs. v. Novopharm Ltd.
, 104 F.3d 1305,1308-09 (Fed. Cir. 1997). No generic drug manufacturer everchallenged the validity of the ’097 patent or sought to marketa generic terazosin hydrochloride product before October 14,1995. However, Geneva and two other generic drug manufac-turers filed ANDAs before January 21, 1997, certifying underParagraph III that the ’097 patent had expired on October 14,1995.
Patent 4,251,532 ( “the ’532 patent”) was filed on Septem-
ber 24, 1979, and issued on February 17, 1981. It protecteddihydrate terazosin hydrochloride, its pharmaceutical compo-sition, and a method for treating hypertension with dihydrateterazosin hydrochloride. The ’532 patent expired on February17, 2000. No generic drug manufacturer ever challenged thevalidity of the ’532 patent.
Just as the ’894 and ’097 patents were about to expire, or
had expired, Abbott filed three more patents for terazosinhydrochloride. They were as follows.
Patent 5,294,615 (“the ’615 patent”) was filed on July 13,
1993, and issued on March 15, 1994. It protected a crystallinepolymorph of terazosin hydrochloride with a certain x-ray dif-fraction pattern (“Form II”). The ’615 patent was listed in the
March 1995 supplement to the Orange Book, and was sched-uled to expire on April 29, 2013.
Patent 5,412,095 (“the ’095 patent”) was filed on May 20,
1994, and issued on May 2, 1995. It protected a crystallinepolymorph of terazosin hydrochloride with a different x-raydiffraction pattern (“Form III”). The ’095 patent was listed inthe Orange Book on May 8, 1995, and was scheduled toexpire on April 29, 2013.
Patent 5,504,207 (“the ’207 patent”) was filed on October
18, 1994, and issued on April 2, 1996. It protected a crystal-line polymorph of terazosin hydrochloride with a different x-ray diffraction pattern (“Form IV”) and a process for prepar-ing terazosin hydrochloride dihydrate using Form IV. The’207 patent was submitted to the FDA for listing in theOrange Book on April 2, 1996, and was scheduled to expireon April 29, 2013.
Geneva began work on a generic version of Hytrin in 1990
and subsequently filed two ANDAs related to terazosinhydrochloride. Geneva filed its first ANDA in January 1993,for a tablet form of generic terazosin hydrochloride (“tabletANDA”). In December 1995, Geneva filed its second ANDAfor a capsule form of generic terazosin hydrochloride(“capsule ANDA”). Between 1993 and 1996, Geneva madesix Paragraph IV certifications related to these ANDAs andprovided notice to Abbott for each certification. We describethe certifications in turn.
First, on January 12, 1993, Geneva provided Abbott notice
of a Paragraph IV certification for its tablet ANDA withrespect to the ’532 patent. It asserted that its proposed genericterazosin hydrochloride would not infringe the ’532 patentbecause its product was anhydrous (“without water”) ratherthan dihydrate (“including water”) terazosin hyrdochloride.
Second, on October 5, 1995, Geneva provided Abbott
notice of a Paragraph IV certification for its tablet ANDA
with respect to the ’097 patent. It asserted that the ’097 patentexpired on October 14, 1995. Geneva proposed to sell genericterazosin hydrochloride after October 14, 1995, but beforeJanuary 21, 1997, the date Abbott claimed its ’097 patentexpired.
Third, also on October 5, 1995, Geneva provided Abbott
notice of a Paragraph IV certification for its tablet ANDAwith respect to the ’095 patent. It asserted that its proposedgeneric terazosin hydrochloride would not infringe the ’095patent because its product used an anhydrous form of terzosinhyrdochloride different from the “Form III” claimed in the’095 patent.
Fourth, on February 16, 1996, Geneva provided Abbott
notice of a Paragraph IV certification for its capsule ANDAwith respect to the ’615 patent. It asserted that its proposedgeneric terazosin hydrochloride would not infringe the ’615patent because its product contained “Form IV” terazosinhydrochloride rather than the “Form II” claimed in the ’615patent. (Abbott’s ’207 patent claiming Form IV terazosinhydrochloride was not issued until April 2, 1996, a month anda half after Geneva’s Paragraph IV certification.)
Finally, on April 29, 1996, Geneva provided Abbott notice
of two Paragraph IV certifications with respect to the ’207patent. One certification supplemented Geneva’s tabletANDA and the other supplemented Geneva’s capsule ANDA.
Geneva conceded that these two proposed products infringedthe part of the ’207 patent that protected Form IV terazosinhydrochloride, but it asserted this part of the ’207 patent wasinvalid under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). Section 102(b) bars patentson inventions that already have been patented, described in aprinted publication, or sold in the United States more than oneyear before the patent application. The bar on patents forinventions previously sold in the United States is commonlyreferred to as the “on-sale bar.”
Abbott filed timely suits under Hatch-Waxman in response
to five of Geneva’s six Paragraph IV certifications. In thosefive suits, Abbott received the thirty-month automatic stay ofFDA approval. However, Abbott neglected to file a timelysuit under Hatch-Waxman in response to Geneva’s ParagraphIV certification with respect to the ’207 patent for the capsuleform of generic terazosin hydrochloride. The FDA proceededto evaluate Geneva’s capsule ANDA. Geneva received finalFDA approval to market its capsule form of terazosin hydro-chloride on March 30, 1998. At the time of the FDA approval,there had been no judicial determination of the validity of the’207 patent.
Between 1993 and 1998, seven generic drug manufacturers
filed ANDAs seeking FDA approval of generic terazosinhydrochloride accompanied by Paragraph IV certifications. Inchronological order of their ANDAs, those manufacturerswere (in addition to Geneva) Novopharm, Zenith-Goldline(“Zenith”), Invamed, Lemmon Pharmacal, Warner-Chilcott,and Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Abbott filed infringement suits inresponse to all of the ANDAs, with the exception of Geneva’scapsule ANDA that infringed the ’207 patent. All told, Abbottfiled seventeen patent infringement suits during this period inan attempt to preserve its Hytrin market monopoly.
On April 1, 1998, two days after the FDA approved Gene-
va’s capsule ANDA, Abbott and Geneva entered into a con-tract. In brief, Geneva agreed to keep its generic capsule formof terazosin hydrochloride off the market until the earliest of(1) the sale of generic terazosin hydrochloride by anothergeneric manufacturer, (2) the expiration date of the ’532patent (February 17, 2000), or (3) a final unappealable judg-ment holding the ’207 patent invalid. In return, Abbott agreedto pay Geneva $4.5 million dollars per month during thisperiod. If a final but appealable judgment holding the ’207patent invalid was rendered during the period, Abbott wouldpay the $4.5 million per month into escrow until the earliestof the three above-specified events occurred.
Abbott and Zenith had entered into a comparable contract
the day before, on March 31, 1998. Like Geneva, Zenith hadfiled an ANDA in June 1994 seeking approval of a genericterazosin hydrochloride drug. Zenith successfully opposedtwo patent infringement suits brought by Abbott under its’615 patent. See Abbott Labs. v. Zenith Labs.
, 934 F. Supp.
925, 928, 933-36 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (“Zenith
”). Abbott then sub-mitted its ’095 and ’207 patents for inclusion in the OrangeBook. In March 1996, the FDA informed Zenith that it wouldhave to amend its ANDA to provide a Paragraph IV certifica-tion with respect to these patents. Zenith declined to do so.
Instead, it filed suit against Abbott alleging that the ’095 and’207 patents had been improperly listed in the Orange Bookand seeking an injunction requiring that they be delisted.
Abbott counterclaimed for infringement.
In brief, Zenith agreed in its contract with Abbott to dis-
miss its delisting suit and not to sell any form of terazosinhydrochloride until another generic manufacturer began tosell generic terazosin hydrochloride or until the ’532 patentexpired (February 17, 2000), whichever occurred first. Inreturn, Abbott agreed to dismiss its counterclaim and to payZenith $3 million immediately, $3 million after three months,and $6 million every three months thereafter until March 1,2000, unless excused earlier by the terms of the contract. Val-ley Drug Co. v. Geneva Pharms., Inc.
, 344 F.3d 1294, 1300(11th Cir. 2003).
Among the seventeen suits brought by Abbott was an
infringement suit under Hatch-Waxman against Geneva,Novopharm and Invamed alleging infringement of the ’207patent, which protected Form IV terazosin hydrochloride.
(The suit against Geneva was based on its tablet ANDA ratherthan its capsule ANDA.) All three defendants contended thatthe ’207 patent was invalid under the on-sale bar of 35 U.S.C.
§ 102(b). It was undisputed that there had been at least threesales of Form IV terazosin hydrochloride more than a yearprior to the date Abbott filed its ’207 patent. Abbott Labs. v.
Geneva Pharms., Inc.
, 182 F.3d 1315, 1317 (Fed. Cir. 1999)(“Geneva II
”). At the time of the prior sales, neither the buy-ers nor the sellers knew that the terazosin hydrochloride soldwas Form IV. However, the district court held that whetherthe parties to the prior sales were aware that the product con-tained Form IV terazosin hydrochloride was immaterial forpurposes of the on-sale bar of § 102(b). Abbott Labs. v.
Geneva Pharms., Inc.
, 1998 WL 566884 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 1,1998). The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing with the districtcourt that the parties’ knowledge was irrelevant under§ 102(b), and holding the ’207 patent invalid. Geneva II
, 182F.3d at 1318-19.
After the Federal Circuit held that Abbott’s ’207 patent was
invalid, Abbott terminated its contracts with Geneva andZenith. Geneva then entered the market with its generic cap-sule form of terazosin hydrochloride. Before Geneva enteredthe market, Kaiser had been buying brand-name Hytrin fromAbbott for between 67 and 70 cents per tablet. After Genevaentered the market, Abbott offered to sell Hytrin to Kaiser at10 cents per tablet. Kaiser declined Abbott’s offer. Instead, itbegan purchasing generic terazosin hyrdochloride fromGeneva.
On March 22, 2002, Kaiser filed suit against Abbott and
Geneva in the Central District of California. Kaiser broughttwo claims under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-2, andclaims under the analogous provisions of California’s Cart-wright Act, California Business & Professional Code§§ 16720 et seq
. (For simplicity’s sake, we will refer only toKaiser’s claims under the Sherman Act.) Kaiser brought arestraint-of-trade claim against Abbott and Geneva under Sec-tion One of the Sherman Act, and a monopolization claimagainst only Abbott under Section Two. In 2003, Kaiser’s suitwas transferred to the District Court for the Southern Districtof Florida (“the MDL court”) under 28 U.S.C. § 1407. Kaiserhad not sued Zenith as part of its Section One claim, but
plaintiffs in other Section One suits transferred to the MDLcourt had done so.
The MDL court granted partial summary judgment to Kai-
ser on its restraint-of-trade claim, holding that Abbott andGeneva’s agreement constituted a per se violation of SectionOne. In re Terazosin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litig.
, 164 F.
Supp. 2d 1340, 1354 (S.D. Fla. 2000) (“In re Antitrust Litig.
”). It later granted summary judgment to Abbott on Kaiser’sSection Two monopolization claim, holding that the Noerr-Pennington
doctrine immunized Abbott’s patent and litigationactivity. In re Terazosin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litig.
, 335 F.
Supp. 2d 1336, 1370 (S.D. Fla. 2004) (“In re Antitrust Litig.
”). The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court’s findingof a per se violation under Section One. Valley Drug
, 344F.3d at 1304-06. It remanded to the district court, indicatingthat the district court might be able to find a per se violationif it reframed its analysis. Id
. at 1311-13. On remand, the dis-trict court again found a per se violation of Section One. Inre Terazosin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litig.
, 352 F. Supp. 2d1279, 1319-20 (S.D. Fla. 2005) (“In re Antitrust Litig. III
At that point, all plaintiffs except Kaiser settled their SectionOne claims.
The MDL court then transferred Kaiser’s entire suit back to
the Central District of California. Kaiser’s Section One claimwent to trial on the issue of causation and damages. The jurywas asked to decide whether Abbott and Geneva’s contracthad delayed Geneva’s commercial sale of generic terazosinhydrochloride, and, if so, whether Kaiser had suffered dam-ages as a result of the delay. After an eleven-day trial, the juryfound that the contract had not caused any delay and that Kai-ser had therefore suffered no injury.
Kaiser appeals. First, Kaiser appeals the entry of judgment
on the jury’s verdict on its Section One claim, contending thatthe district court made several erroneous evidentiary rulings.
Second, Kaiser appeals the MDL court’s grant of summary
judgment to Abbott on its Section Two claim. For the reasonsthat follow, we affirm the California district court’s judgmenton the jury’s verdict on Kaiser’s Section One claim. Wereverse the MDL court’s grant of summary judgment on Kai-ser’s Section Two claim.
We review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Cascade
Health Solutions v. PeaceHealth
, 515 F.3d 883, 912 (9th Cir.
2008). We review the trial court’s evidentiary rulings forabuse of discretion. Hoffman v. Constr. Prot. Servs., Inc.
, 541F.3d 1175, 1178 (9th Cir. 2008).
Section One of the Sherman Act makes unlawful “[e]very
contract, combination . . . , or conspiracy, in restraint of tradeor commerce among the several States.” 15 U.S.C. § 1. TheMDL court held that Abbott and Geneva’s agreement was aper se violation of Section One before transferring the caseback to the California district court for trial. We do not revisitthat holding.
Kaiser challenges several evidentiary rulings made by the
district court during the trial of Kaiser’s Section One restraint-of-trade claim against Abbott and Geneva. We reverse an evi-dentiary ruling only if we find “that the district court abusedits discretion and that the error was prejudicial.” ColumbiaPictures Television, Inc. v. Krypton Broad. of Birmingham,Inc.
, 259 F.3d 1186, 1195 (9th Cir. 2001). We hold that all ofKaiser’s evidentiary challenges fail and affirm the districtcourt’s entry of judgment against Kaiser.
Kaiser first challenges a ruling that prevented it from dis-
covering privileged opinions of Geneva’s counsel. Kaisersought these opinions in order to counter what Kaiser por-trayed as Geneva’s advice-of-counsel defense. Abbott andGeneva presented evidence at trial that their agreement didnot delay Geneva’s marketing of its generic terazosin hydro-chloride drug because Geneva did not want to risk bringing itsproduct to market without the protection of an appellate deci-sion holding the ’207 patent invalid. If Abbott had prevailedin the ’207 litigation and Geneva had already sold its genericversion of the drug, Geneva would have faced potentiallydisastrous damages.
“The privilege which protects attorney-client communi-
cations may not be used both as a sword and a shield. Wherea party raises a claim which in fairness requires disclosure ofthe protected communication, the privilege may be implicitlywaived.” Chevron Corp. v. Pennzoil Co.
, 974 F.2d 1156, 1162(9th Cir. 1992) (citing United States v. Bilzerian
, 926 F.2d1285, 1292 (2d Cir. 1991)). See also United States v. Amlani
,169 F.3d 1189, 1195-96 (9th Cir. 1999). Kaiser contends thatGeneva was advised by its counsel to avoid taking its productto market without the protection of an appellate decision onAbbott’s ’207 patent, and that this alleged advice of counselwas used as a sword in the Section One litigation. Therefore,according to Kaiser, Geneva could not use the attorney-clientprivilege as a shield to conceal the actual advice given bycounsel.
If, as Kaiser argues, Geneva’s defense was based on the
advice of its attorneys, Kaiser should have had access to thoseotherwise privileged attorney-client communications. How-ever, we agree with the district court that Geneva did not actu-ally rely on an advice-of-counsel defense at trial. Genevapresented evidence that regardless of the assurances fromGeneva’s counsel and from Geneva’s parent company’s coun-
sel that Geneva would likely prevail in the ’207 litigation,Geneva’s Board of Directors did not want to undertake thebusiness risk of marketing its generic terazosin hydrochloridedrug so long as the validity of the ’207 patent had not beenauthoritatively determined. Thus, Geneva’s defense at trialwas not that it acted based on advice of counsel. Instead, itsdefense was that it acted without regard to, or even contraryto, what counsel advised. Therefore, it was not an abuse ofdiscretion for the district court to deny Kaiser access to Gene-va’s privileged communications. See Home Indem. Co. v.
Lane Powell Moss & Miller
, 43 F.3d 1322, 1326-27 (9th Cir.
Kaiser next challenges the district court’s decision exclud-
ing evidence of Abbott’s conduct in seeking the ’207 patent.
Kaiser hoped to use the evidence to demonstrate that Abbotthad not acted in good faith when applying for the ’207 patent,that Geneva knew about the nature of Abbott’s conduct, andthat Geneva therefore had no reason to believe that Abbottwould prevail in the ’207 patent litigation. The court excludedthis evidence because of the MDL court’s ruling that therewas no evidence of misconduct in Abbott’s patent prosecutionand litigation activity, because the evidence was irrelevant toGeneva’s liability, and because the prejudicial effect of theevidence “substantially outweighed” its probative value.
Abbott’s ’207 patent application and its litigation
defending the patent’s validity were only marginally relevantto Kaiser’s Section One causation and damages trial. But seeMCI Commc’ns Corp. v. AT&T
, 708 F.2d 1081, 1159-60 (7thCir. 1983) (allowing evidence of behavior protected underNoerr-Pennington
to be introduced for other relevant pur-poses). Even though Abbott might have acted improperly inseeking the ’207 patent, as we discuss in a moment, the dis-trict court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the evi-dence.
c. Cumulative Effect of Other Evidentiary Decisions
Finally, Kaiser challenges a series of exclusions that it
argues compound the prejudice it suffered from the other twoevidentiary rulings it challenges. Even viewed cumulatively,the exclusions do not constitute abuse of the district court’sbroad discretion on evidentiary matters, and we find no preju-dice. See Harper v. City of Los Angeles
, 533 F.3d 1010, 1030(9th Cir. 2008).
Because we affirm the district court’s entry of judgment for
Abbott and Geneva on Kaiser’s Section One claim, we neednot address Abbott and Geneva’s cross-appeal of the MDLcourt’s holding that the contract was a per se violation.
Section Two of the Sherman Act makes it unlawful to “mo-
nopolize, or attempt to monopolize . . . trade or commerceamong the several States.” 15 U.S.C. § 2. Kaiser pursues bothmonopolization and attempted monopolization claims againstAbbott. For a successful Section Two monopolization claim,a plaintiff must establish: “(1) the possession of monopolypower in the relevant market and (2) the willful acquisition ormaintenance of that power as distinguished from growth ordevelopment as a consequence of a superior product, businessacumen, or historic accident.” United States v. Grinnell Corp.
,384 U.S. 563, 570-71 (1966). For a successful attemptedmonopolization claim, a plaintiff must establish: “(1) that thedefendant has engaged in predatory or anticompetitive con-duct with (2) a specific intent to monopolize and (3) a danger-ous probability of achieving monopoly power.” SpectrumSports, Inc. v. McQuillan
, 506 U.S. 447, 456 (1993).
The holder of a patent enjoys a lawful monopoly to prevent
others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the
patented invention during the term of the patent. 35 U.S.C.
§ 154(a)(1)-(2). Abbott’s initial patent-based monopoly in theterazosin hydrochloride market is not at issue. Rather, Kaisercontends that Abbott improperly tried to extend its patentmonopoly by filing sham lawsuits in order to delay the entryof generic competition, and by fraudulently obtaining aninvalid patent for the same purpose.
Even though Kaiser must ultimately prove the existence of
a “sham” by clear and convincing evidence, it need only showthat there is a genuine issue of material fact to avoid summaryjudgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.
, 477 U.S. 242,255 (1986). This determination is made “through the prism”of the clear and convincing evidentiary standard. Id.
at254-55. There is no antitrust exception to the standard setforth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
doctrine allows private citizens
to exercise their First Amendment rights to petition the gov-ernment without fear of antitrust liability. See Eastern R.R.
Presidents Conference v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc.
, 365 U.S.
127 (1961) (“Noerr
”); United Mine Workers of Am. v. Pen-nington
, 381 U.S. 657 (1965) (“Pennington
”). The SupremeCourt has explained, “In light of the government’s ‘power toact in [its] representative capacity’ and ‘to take actions . . .
that operate to restrain trade,’ we reasoned that the ShermanAct does not punish ‘political activity’ through which ‘thepeople . . . freely inform the government of their wishes.’ ”Prof’l Real Estate Investors, Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Indus.
,508 U.S. 49, 56 (1993) (all alterations in original) (quotingNoerr
, 365 U.S. at 137). Noerr-Pennington
originally immu-nized only petitions to legislative officials, but the SupremeCourt extended Noerr-Pennington
immunity to petitions toadministrative agencies and courts. Cal. Motor Transp. Co. v.
, 404 U.S. 508, 510 (1972).
An entity loses Noerr-Pennington
immunity from anti-
trust liability if its conduct falls within the “sham” exceptionto the doctrine. That is, “[t]here may be situations in which apublicity campaign, ostensibly directed toward influencinggovernmental action, is a mere sham to cover what is actuallynothing more than an attempt to interfere directly with thebusiness relationships of a competitor and the application ofthe Sherman Act would be justified.” Noerr
, 365 U.S. at 144.
The Court has elaborated:
The “sham” exception to Noerr
encompasses situa-tions in which persons use the governmental process
—as opposed to the outcome
of that process—as ananticompetitive weapon. A classic example is the fil-ing of frivolous objections to the license applicationof a competitor, with no expectation of achievingdenial of the license but simply in order to imposeexpense and delay. A “sham” situation involves adefendant whose activities are not genuinely aimedat procuring favorable government action at all, notone who genuinely seeks to achieve his governmen-tal result, but does so through improper means
City of Columbia v. Omni Outdoor Adver., Inc.
, 499 U.S. 365,380 (1991) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
We recently described three situations where the sham excep-tion applies:
[F]irst, where the lawsuit is objectively baseless andthe defendant’s motive in bringing it was unlawful;second, where the conduct involves a series of law-suits brought pursuant to a policy of starting legalproceedings without regard to the merits and for anunlawful purpose; and third, if the allegedly unlaw-ful conduct consists of making intentional misrepre-sentations to the court, litigation can be deemed asham if a party’s knowing fraud upon, or its inten-
tional misrepresentations to, the court deprive the lit-igation of its legitimacy.
Sosa v. DIRECTV, Inc.
, 437 F.3d 923, 938 (9th Cir. 2006)(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
The third situation described in Sosa
— “knowing fraud
upon” or “intentional misrepresentations to” a court — has aparticular meaning in patent infringement suits. In such suits,the fraud or misrepresentation may have been directed to thefederal Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”), not merely toa court. In Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. FoodMachinery & Chemical Corp.
, 382 U.S. 172, 177 (1965), theCourt held that an entity that obtains a patent fraudulently andthen uses that patent to exclude a competitor from the marketthrough infringement suits is not protected by Noerr-Pennington
. This fraud-based exception to Noerr-Pennington
is commonly called Walker Process
fraud. See also Nobel-pharma AB v. Implant Innovations, Inc.
, 141 F.3d 1059, 1068(Fed. Cir. 1998) (“A patentee who brings an infringement suitmay be subject to antitrust liability for the anti-competitiveeffects of that suit if the alleged infringer (the antitrust plain-tiff) proves . . . that the asserted patent was obtained throughknowing and willful fraud within the meaning of Walker Pro-cess Equipment
2. Application of the “Sham” Exception
Kaiser contends that two versions of the “sham” exception
immunity apply in this case. First, Kai-ser contends that Abbott’s seventeen patent infringement suitsagainst would-be generic manufacturers of terazosin hydro-chloride between 1993 and 1998 constituted sham litigation.
Second, Kaiser contends that Abbott obtained its ’207 patentby Walker Process
fraud and that its infringement suits basedon the ’207 patent therefore were a sham. The MDL districtcourt granted summary judgment to Abbott, holding that therewere no genuine issues of material fact with respect to either
contention, thereby upholding Abbott’s defense of Noerr-Pennington
For the reasons that follow, we reverse the MDL court’s
grant of summary judgment. We agree with the MDL court’sconclusion that Kaiser has not produced evidence that wouldallow it to avoid summary judgment on its claim of sham liti-gation. However, we disagree with the MDL court’s conclu-sion that Kaiser has not produced sufficient evidence to avoidsummary judgment on its claim of Walker Process
Kaiser contends that Abbott’s seventeen infringement suits
against the seven would-be manufacturers of generic terazosinhydrochloride constitute sham litigation. Kaiser argues thatAbbott’s litigation was an attempt to use the judicial process,rather than favorable judicial outcomes, to extend improperlyits terazosin hydrochloride monopoly. See Omni OutdoorAdver., Inc.
, 499 U.S. at 380.
We discussed the sham litigation exception to Noerr-
at length in USS-POSCO Industries v. ContraCosta County Building & Construction Trades Council
, 31F.3d 800 (9th Cir. 1994). We took pains in USS-POSCO
toreconcile the Supreme Court’s opinions in Professional RealEstate Investors, Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Industries
, 508U.S. 49 (1993), and California Motor Transport v. TruckingUnlimited
, 404 U.S. 508 (1972), both of which dealt with thesham litigation exception to Noerr-Pennington
. We wrote:
We reconcile these cases by reading them asapplying to different situations. Professional RealEstate Investors
provides a strict two-step analysis toassess whether a single action constitutes sham peti-tioning. This inquiry is essentially retrospective: Ifthe suit turns out to have objective merit, the plaintiff
can’t proceed to inquire into subjective purposes,and the action is perforce not a sham.
California Motor Transport
deals with the casewhere the defendant is accused of bringing a wholeseries of legal proceedings. Litigation is invariablycostly, distracting and time-consuming; having todefend a whole series of such proceedings can inflicta crushing burden on a business. California MotorTransport
thus recognized that the filing of a wholeseries of lawsuits and other legal actions withoutregard to the merits has far more serious implicationsthan filing a single action, and can serve as a veryeffective restraint on trade. When dealing with aseries of lawsuits, the question is not whether anyone of them has merit—some may turn out to, justas a matter of chance—but whether they are broughtpursuant to a policy of starting legal proceedingswithout regard to the merits and for the purpose ofinjuring a market rival. The inquiry in such cases isprospective: Were the legal filings made, not out ofa genuine interest in redressing grievances, but aspart of a pattern or practice of successive filingsundertaken essentially for purposes of harassment?
, 31 F.3d at 810-11 (internal citation omitted).
Kaiser asks us to apply the California Motor Transport
for sham litigation, as we described that test in USS-POSCO
,because Abbott brought a “series of legal proceedings.”Abbott objects to our application of USS-POSCO
(and Cali-fornia Motor Transport
) on the ground that Kaiser asked theMDL court to apply only the Professional Real Estate Inves-tors
test. We need not decide whether Kaiser has waived itsargument that the California Motor Transport
test applies, foreven under that test Kaiser loses its sham litigation claim.
The MDL court carefully analyzed each of the seventeen
suits brought by Abbott against the would-be generic manu-
facturers. In re Antitrust Litig. II
, 335 F. Supp. 2d at 1356-65.
Abbott won seven of the seventeen suits. It lost the other ten,but in each of the ten cases it had a plausible argument onwhich it could have prevailed.
Two of the ten suits depended on whether a Hatch-
Waxman infringement suit could be brought based on a patentthat was not listed in the Orange Book. This was a questionof first impression. The district court held against Abbott, butonly after detailed and careful analysis. Zenith
, 934 F. Supp.
at 933-36. Two more of the suits depended on whether theUruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 extended the life ofAbbott’s ’097 patent for three years. The MDL court wrote,“The [Uruguay Round] treaty was new, the provision had notbeen the subject of prior interpretation, and [Abbott’s] argu-ment, while hypertechnical, passed the ‘straight face’ test.” Inre Antitrust Litig. II
, 335 F. Supp. 2d at 1359.
The last six suits were all infringement suits brought by
Abbott to enforce its ’207 patent. The MDL court viewedthese suits as presenting the closest question. Id
. at 1360. Thesame issue was litigated in all six of these suits — whether theon-sale bar of 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) invalidated Abbott’s ’207patent on Form IV terazosin hydrochloride. Abbott admittedthat Form IV terazosin hydrochloride had been sold more thana year before Abbott sought its ’207 patent, but it argued thatthe on-sale bar did not apply because neither the seller nor thebuyer knew that Form IV terazosin hydrochloride had beensold. The Federal Circuit ultimately resolved all six suits byholding that the sellers’ and buyers’ knowledge was irrelevantto the on-sale bar. Geneva II
, 182 F.3d at 1318-19. Thecourt’s decision was influenced by the Supreme Court’s deci-sion in Pfaff v. Wells Electronics, Inc.
, 525 U.S. 55 (1998),which was rendered after Abbott filed its suits.
There is insufficient evidence in this record to allow a
jury to conclude that Abbott’s seventeen suits constituted“sham” litigation within the meaning of the exception to
. It is true that Abbott was litigious, but tosome degree its litigiousness was a product of Hatch-Waxman. Abbott filed suit quickly in order to preserve itsrights under Hatch-Waxman, but it did not persist in litigatingwhen it became obvious that the suits were baseless. Further,the volume of Abbott’s suits was dependent on the number ofgeneric companies attempting to enter the terazosin hydro-chloride marketplace, a matter over which Abbott had no con-trol.
Kaiser contends that Abbott obtained its ’207 patent
through Walker Process
fraud. The district court concludedthat Kaiser had not presented “any evidence” to support itsWalker Process
fraud contention. In re Antitrust Litig. II
, 335F. Supp. 2d at 1370. We disagree.
“[T]he enforcement of a patent procured by fraud on
the Patent Office may be violative of § 2 of the Sherman Act. . . .” Walker Process
, 382 U.S. at 174. “ ‘[T]o strip [a paten-tee] of its exemption from the antitrust laws’ because of itsattempting to enforce its patent monopoly, an antitrust plain-tiff is first required to prove that the patentee ‘obtained thepatent by knowingly and willfully misrepresenting facts to the[PTO].’ ” Nobelpharma AB
, 141 F.3d at 1068 (quotingWalker Process
, 382 U.S. at 177) (alterations in original).
“The plaintiff in the patent infringement suit must also havebeen aware of the fraud when bringing suit.” Id
. at 1069. Anantitrust plaintiff must produce “independent and clear evi-dence of deceptive intent [on the part of the patentee] togetherwith a clear showing . . . that the patent would not have issuedbut for the misrepresentation or omission.” Id.
at 1071. “Di-rect evidence of intent to deceive or mislead the PTO is rarelyavailable but may be inferred from clear and convincing evi-dence of the surrounding circumstances.” Purdue PharmaL.P. v. Endo Pharms. Inc.
, 438 F.3d 1123, 1133-34 (Fed. Cir.
2006) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The patentee’s good faith before the PTO “would furnish
a complete defense.” Walker Process
, 382 U.S. at 177. “Thisincludes an honest mistake as to the effect of prior [art] uponpatentability—so-called ‘technical fraud.’ ” Id.
Inequitableconduct may render a patent invalid, but it is not enough tobring a patentee’s conduct within the Walker Process
excep-tion to Noerr-Pennington
immunity. See Nobelpharma AB
,141 F.3d at 1070 (“Inequitable conduct is thus an equitabledefense in a patent infringement action and serves as a shield,while a more serious finding of fraud potentially exposes apatentee to antitrust liability and thus serves as a sword.”); 37C.F.R. § 1.56 (“[N]o patent will be granted on an applicationin connection with which fraud on the [PTO] was practiced orattempted or the duty of disclosure was violated through badfaith or intentional misconduct.”).
Rule 56 of the PTO specifies that a patent applicant
has “a duty to disclose to the [PTO] all information known tothat individual to be material to patentability as defined in thissection.” 37 C.F.R. § 1.56(a). Materiality is broadly definedunder the rule: “[I]nformation is material to patentabilitywhen it . . . establishes, by itself or in combination with otherinformation, a prima facie case of unpatentability of a claim;or it refutes, or is inconsistent with, a position the applicanttakes in . . . [a]sserting an argument of patentability.” Id
§ 1.56(b)(1), (b)(2)(ii). A patent may not issue if “the inven-tion was patented or described in a printed publication in thisor a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country,more than one year prior to the date of the application forpatent in the United States.” 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).
Kaiser claims that Abbott committed Walker Process
in seeking its ’207 patent. Kaiser points to two pieces of infor-mation that it contends were material to the § 102(b) bar butthat Abbott failed to provide to the PTO in connection withits application for the ’207 patent.
First, Kaiser points to Abbott’s failure to provide with
its ’207 patent application an English translation of an earlier
Japanese patent application for Form IV terazosin hydrochlo-ride. Abbott applied for its ’207 patent on October 18, 1994.
More than a year earlier, in March 1993, the Sumika FineChemical Company published a Japanese Patent Application(“the Sumika reference”) disclosing seven crystal forms ofterazosin hydrochloride. It is undisputed that one of the crys-tal forms in the Sumika reference was the Form IV terazosinhydrochloride described in Abbott’s application for the ’207patent. Thus, if the patent examiner had fully understood theSumika reference, he would have concluded that Abbott’spatent application should have been denied because it was“described in a printed publication in . . . a foreign country . . .
more than one year prior to the date of the application forpatent in the United States.” 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).
Abbott submitted a PTO Form 1449 in connection with its
patent application for Form IV terazosin hydrochloride. TheForm indicated that an English translation of the Sumika ref-erence was included in the application. However, the patentexaminer testified in his deposition that the English transla-tion was not, in fact, included in the application. The exam-iner had written “(Abstract only)” in the file, therebyindicating that only an English-language abstract, rather thanan English translation of the entire reference, had been pro-vided.
The Abbott in-house attorney who prepared and submitted
the application for the ’207 patent testified in a 1997 deposi-tion that he had intended to submit the English translation ofthe Sumika reference with the application, but that he couldnot remember actually having done so:
Q: What was your general practice at the time inhaving your secretary fill out Form 1449s? How didyou generally do that in the ’94-’95 time frame?
A: Generally by giving her a stack of copies of thereferences.
Q: And that is what you did in this instance?
Q: Do you recall whether or not you included [theEnglish translation of the Sumika reference] in thedocuments that you gave to your secretary to fill outForm 1449?
A: I just answered no, I don’t recall whether thatdocument was in that collection.
Q: Did you submit an English-language translationof Japanese Patent Application 5-78,352 to theUnited States Patent Office during the prosecution ofthe application upon which the ’207 patent wasissued?
A: Do I recall specifically doing that? No.
The patent examiner could not read Japanese. However, he
could read Chinese, and could understand kanji characters in
Japanese because they are the same as Chinese characters.2
testified that he was able to read words such as “invention”
and “name,” and he remembered that he had been able to read
two tables, including one referring to “crystalline forms and
their characteristics.” But he testified that he was unable to
The patent examiner spelled out “K-A-N-G-I” in his deposition. The
read the entire Sumika reference. The examiner also testifiedthat he had seen the English translation of the Sumika refer-ence because it had been submitted in connection withAbbott’s earlier application for the ’095 patent, which wasstill pending when he was considering Abbott’s applicationfor the ’207 patent.
Second, Kaiser points to Abbott’s failure to mention a deci-
sion of the Federal Circuit, J.A. LaPorte, Inc. v. NorfolkDredging Co.
, 787 F.2d 1577 (Fed. Cir. 1986), in its applica-tion for the ’207 patent. In December 1995, more than a yearafter its initial application for the ’207 patent for Form IVterazosin hydrochloride, Abbott submitted an InformationDisclosure Statement (“IDS”) and a Supplemental IDS to thePTO. These documents were prepared by the same in-houseAbbott attorney who had prepared the initial application.
These supplemental documents revealed that there had beentwo prior public sales of Form IV terazosin hydrochloride,more than one year before the patent application was filed. Inre Antitrust Litig. II
, 335 F. Supp. 2d at 1354. These priorsales had come to light in the litigation challenging patent’207’s validity, to which Abbott was a party. Independentlyof the Sumika reference, these sales likely prevented Abbottfrom obtaining a patent on Form IV terazosin hydrochloridebecause they appeared to come within the on-sale bar of§ 102(b). Abbott’s only hope was to argue that the parties tothese prior sales had not known that the product containedForm IV terazosin hydrochloride, and that the sales had there-fore not come within the scope of the on-sale bar.
Abbott first made this knowledge-of-the-parties-to-the-sale
argument in a brief in the litigation in which these sales hadcome to light. Abbott’s in-house attorney later made the sameargument to the PTO in Abbott’s IDS and Supplemental IDS.
The in-house attorney used substantially the same language asin the litigation brief, but with one exception. Abbott’s litiga-tion brief had included a citation to the LaPorte
case, and anattempt to distinguish it. Abbott’s in-house attorney failed to
include any reference to LaPorte
in the documents submittedto the PTO.
, the inventor of an extension to a dredging drill
had allowed others to sell his invention. More than a yearlater, the inventor and two assignees sought to patent theextension. They argued that the on-sale bar did not apply tosales by anyone other than the inventor unless the inventionwas publicly disclosed at the time of the sale. In this case,there had been no such disclosure. The Federal Circuitrejected the inventor’s argument. It wrote, inter alia
, “[O]urprecedent holds that the question is not whether the sale, evena third party sale, ‘discloses’ the invention at the time of thesale, but whether the sale relates to a device that embodies
theinvention.” 787 F.2d at 1583 (emphasis in original).
The Federal Circuit ultimately resolved the on-sale bar
issue adversely to Abbott, holding in Geneva II
, that the buy-ers’ and sellers’ lack of knowledge of the presence of FormIV terazosin hydrochloride was irrelevant to the on-sale bar.
The court principally relied on Pfaff
, a recent Supreme Courtcase, but it also relied on LaPorte
, quoting the sentence thatwe have quoted in the previous paragraph. 182 F.3d at1318-19.
When the MDL court granted summary judgment to Abbott
on the Walker Process
fraud issue, it wrote, “Plaintiffs . . .
have not presented any evidence that Abbott acted knowinglyand willfully with a clear intent to deceive the PTO, or thatthe omission of either the complete English-language transla-tion of the Sumika reference or the LaPorte
decision wouldhave prevented the PTO from issuing the ’207 patent.” In reAntitrust Litig. II
, 335 F. Supp. 2d at 1370. We disagree withthe district court that Kaiser did not present “any evidence”that there was an intent to deceive or that, in the absence ofthe deceit, the patent would nonetheless have issued. Wedivide our discussion of the evidence into two parts — evi-
dence of intent to deceive the PTO, and evidence of the effectof the deceit.
First, we believe that Kaiser provided sufficient evidence to
get to the jury on whether Abbott intended to deceive thePTO. As the Federal Circuit wrote in Purdue Pharma L.P.
,direct evidence of intent to deceive the PTO in a patent appli-cation is “rarely available.” 438 F.3d at 1133-34. For exam-ple, it would be naive to expect that someone who had soughtto deceive the PTO would state in a deposition that this hadbeen his intent. We are therefore generally obliged to rely oncircumstantial evidence in Walker Process
Abbott needed the ’207 patent to maintain its monopoly on
Hytrin. In its original NDA for terazosin hydrochloride,Abbott had relied on three patents — the ’894, ’097 and ’532patents. The ’894 patent expired on May 31, 1994. The ’097patent was scheduled to expire on September 5, 1995. And the’532 patent did not protect certain forms of terazosin hydro-chloride. Therefore, beginning on July 13, 1993, Abbottapplied for three additional patents, to protect Forms II, III,and IV terazosin hydrochloride. The ’207 patent, protectingForm IV terazosin hydrochloride, was the last of these threeadditional patents to be filed.
It is of course possible that a competent in-house attor-
ney could indicate on PTO Form 1449 that a particular docu-ment was included in a patent application, but theninadvertently fail to include that document in the application.
But several things suggest that the failure to include theEnglish translation of the Sumika reference was not inadver-tent. We begin with the unavoidable fact that the Englishtranslation of the Sumika reference was the only document inthe initial application that, if fully understood by the patentexaminer, would have resulted in a denial of the application.
There was thus a substantial incentive not to include the trans-lation.
Later conduct by Abbott’s in-house attorney in con-
nection with the application for the ’207 patent suggests thatthe omission of the English translation was not inadvertent.
When the attorney submitted supplemental information to thePTO about prior sales of Form IV terazosin hydrochloride, hefailed to mention the LaPorte
case when arguing that lack ofknowledge of the parties to an earlier sale of the inventionmeant that the sale did not trigger the on-sale bar of 35 U.S.C.
§ 102(b). The attorney’s failure to mention LaPorte
wasunlikely to have been inadvertent, given that the attorney tookhis argument from a litigation brief filed by Abbott that hadspecifically mentioned and distinguished LaPorte
Prior conduct by the same in-house attorney, in connection
with Abbott’s application for the ’095 patent, also suggeststhat the omission was not inadvertent. Five months before itsapplication for the ’207 patent for Form IV terazosin hydro-chloride, Abbott submitted its application for the ’095 patentfor Form III terazosin hydrochloride. In connection with this’095 application, the in-house attorney submitted the Englishtranslation, as well as a different English abstract, of theSumika reference. Why, if he had submitted the translationwith the application for the ’095 patent, would he have failedto include it with the application for the ’207 patent? A possi-ble answer is that the Sumika reference was fatal to the pat-entability of Form IV terazosin hydrochloride (the ’207patent), but did not pose a substantial threat to the patentabil-ity of Form III (the ’095 patent).
The English language abstracts submitted by Abbott’s in-
house attorney in connection with the two applications sug-gest that the in-house attorney knew he had more to fear froman accurate description of the Sumika reference in the ’207application than in the ’095 application. The English abstractof the Sumika reference submitted with the ’095 applicationspecifically stated that the Sumika reference contained sevencrystal forms:
Japanese KoKai Patent . . . , published March 30,1993 to Sumika Fine Chemicals, Ltd., which dis-closes seven crystalline modifications of terazosinhydrochloride and their preparation.
By contrast, the English abstract of the Sumika reference sub-mitted with the ‘207 application, five months later, was lessspecific:
Published Japanese Patent Application . . . to SumikaFine Chemical Co., Ltd., which discloses and claimscrystalline modifications of anhydrous terazosinhydrochloride.
An affidavit from Kaiser’s scientific expert shows why
Abbott had less to fear from the Sumika reference in its appli-cation for the ’095 patent than in its application for the ’207patent. The expert compared the crystalline forms containedin the Sumika reference to Form III and Form IV. In assessingthe match between the relevant Sumika crystal and Form III(the ’095 patent), the expert could not say conclusively thatthey were the same, even though it was in Kaiser’s interestthat he do so. He could write only that the “two powder pat-terns are actually a reasonably good match” and that theSumika crystal “appears” to be the same as Form III. By con-trast, in assessing the match between the relevant Sumikacrystal and Form IV (the ’207 patent), the expert was confi-dent that they were the same. He wrote that “the two patterns[ ] match up very well. . . . I conclude that the Sumika TypeA-2 crystal form . . . is the same crystal form as the AbbottForm IV . . . reported in the ’207 patent.”
We do not, of course, ourselves conclude that Abbott’s
in-house attorney deliberately failed to include the Englishtranslation of the Sumika reference. But we hold that there isenough circumstantial evidence in the record to support ajury’s conclusion to that effect.
Second, we believe that Kaiser presented sufficient evi-
dence to get to the jury on whether the failure to include theEnglish translation of the Sumika reference enabled Abbott toobtain a patent that it would not have otherwise obtained. Westart with the undisputed proposition that if the patent exam-iner had fully understood the Sumika reference, he wouldhave denied Abbott’s application for a patent of Form IV tera-zosin hydrochloride. The question then becomes whether thepatent examiner would have understood the significance of anEnglish translation of the Sumika reference if it had been partof the application for the ’207 patent, and whether he wouldhave concluded that the application therefore had to bedenied.
Abbott contends that it would have made no difference if
the examiner had had the English translation in connectionwith the ’207 patent application. Abbott points out that duringthe period the examiner was evaluating the ’207 patent appli-cation, he had the English translation of the Sumika referencebefore him as part of Abbott’s earlier application for the ’095patent. Therefore, Abbott argues, the failure to submit theEnglish translation with the ’207 application made no differ-ence to the outcome of that application.
However, the examiner did not testify that he even read the
English translation from the ’095 application when he wasevaluating the ’207 application. The examiner testified that hesaw the English translation of the Sumika reference, but thathe did not recall reading it:
Q: Do you recall at any time during the pendencyof the application upon which the ’207 patent issuedseeing a full English language translation of [theSumika reference]?
Q: Under what circumstances did you see thattranslation?
A: It was in the file of a related case filed by thesame applicant on this related subject matter, terazo-sin.
Q: What were the full facts and circumstancesunder which you saw that full English translation ofthe Japanese application?
A: I can only remember that when I was looking atfiles of related cases I recall seeing such a transla-tion.
Abbott argues further that because the English translation
of the Sumika reference was included in the application forthe ’095 patent, and because that patent was granted, weshould conclude that the ’207 patent would also have beengranted. Abbott writes in its brief to us, “[T]he PTO issuedthe ’095 patent even though Abbott indisputably submittedthe translation with that application . . . . There is no reasonto believe that the outcome for the ’207 patent would havebeen any different.” In making this argument, Abbott fails totake into account the significantly weaker match between theSumika reference crystals with Form III (the ’095 patent) thanwith Form IV (the ’207 patent) terazosin hydrochloride. Con-trary to Abbott’s contention, the significantly weaker matchwith Form III is a “reason to believe that the outcome for the’207 patent would have been different.”
We do not, of course, decide that if the English translation
had been included with Abbott’s ’207 patent application theapplication would have been denied. But we hold that thereis enough evidence in the record to support a jury’s conclu-sion to that effect.
Because the MDL court ruled against Kaiser based on
, it did not reach Abbott’s statute of limita-tions defense. We decline to decide that question in the firstinstance. That question may be presented to the district courton remand.
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the California
district court’s entry of judgment against Kaiser on its Sher-man Act Section One claim. We reverse the MDL court’ssummary judgment against Kaiser on its Section Two claim.
We remand for further proceedings consistent with this opin-ion.
AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part and REMANDED
for further proceedings. Each side is to bear its own costs onappeal.
ACUERDO MUNICIPAL Nro. 255 “POR MEDIO DEL CUAL SE ADOPTA EL PRESUPUESTO GENERAL DE INGRESOS, GASTOS Y DISPOSICIONES GENERALES DEL MUNICIPIO DE SAN JOSÉ CALDAS, PARA LA VIGENCIA FISCAL DEL AÑO 2011” EXPOSICION DE MOTIVOS Honorables Concejales Respetuosamente permito someter a consideración del Honorable Concejo Municipal, el proyecto de acuerdo para la aprobación del
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