SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Justices say

patent correction may be needed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says the makers of a name brand drug may have to correct a patent that could hinder the approval of a generic drug.

The high court on Tuesday agreed with a court decision that forced Novo Nordisk A/S to correct the patent for repaglinide, which is marketed as the diabetes drug Prandin.

Generic drug maker Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd., wants to make a generic version. But Danish-based Novo had its patent description revised and made broader, which blocks Caraco's generic application. A federal judge ruled that Novo's description was too broad and ordered them to change it, although that decision was overturned by a U.S. appeals court.

The high court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, agreed with the original decision. The case now goes back to the lower courts.

"While we are disappointed with the decision, it appears the Supreme Court has held only that Caraco may challenge the use code narrative for Novo Nordisk's patented method of treating diabetes with repaglinide in combination with metformin. Novo Nordisk's use code narrative is, and has always been, correct, and we are confident that further proceedings will show Caraco's challenge to the use code narrative is meritless," says James Shehan, vice president and general counsel of Novo Nordisk Inc, USA.

Court rules for private lawyer hired by CA city

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that private individuals hired temporarily by local governments have the same protection against civil rights lawsuits as public employees.

Chief Justice John Roberts said Tuesday that it makes no sense to treat people differently because one person is a full-time government employee and another has been retained for a discrete task.

The court sided with attorney Steve Filarsky, who was hired by the city of Rialto, Calif., to investigate the possible misuse of sick leave. Filarsky and several full-time Rialto employees were sued by a firefighter who was under investigation.

Lower courts threw out claims against all the city employees, but the federal appeals court in San Francisco said Filarsky's case was different because he was not employed by Rialto.

Published: Thu, Apr 19, 2012

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