If you want to measure the anticipation building up in the patent bar for the final outcome of Wyeth v. Kappos, just take a look at the number of lawsuits it has already spawned.
On October 7 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in the case, which determine how the Patent and Trademark Office calculates the amount of time it extends patent terms when it is late processing the initial patent application. If the circuit court lets the ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stand, certain patents could see their shelf lives extended by more than a year.
In the meantime, the pending decision has led to a whole raft of lawsuits. In a review of court records available on PACER, The National Law Journal found 103 separate cases filed since the lower court ruling last September in which plaintiffs have asked judges on the district court to reassess their patent extensions. Companies have had to file in advance of the circuit court ruling because administrative decisions on patent adjustments have to be challenged within 180 days. Judges have been staying the cases pending the Wyeth decision.
So which firms have been filing the suits? Washington, D.C.-based Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner comes in tops with 13 so far, and clients including Bayer Bioscience, Biogen Idec, Amgen Inc., Theravance and Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Next on the list is Washington’s Browdy and Neimark, with 11 suits. Los Angeles-based Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton follows with 7 and Boston’s Fish & Richardson comes in with 6.