COURT RULING MAY SLOW PATENT LITIGATION
The availability of generic drugs coulddecrease, and their costs may rise, due toa new US Supreme Court ruling thatmakes it more difficult for small companiesto challenge anticompetitive practicesby well-financed patent holders. For>50 years, the courts have held it to beautomatically illegal for the owners of apatented product to force their customersto also buy a second product. Inrelaxing those restrictions on antitrustviolations known as "tying arrangements,"the high court ruled that plaintiffsmust prove that the patent holder has"monopoly power" before such restrictionscan be considered illegal.
Although the case before theSupreme Court involved ink for industrialprinters, legal experts believe theprecedent could affect patent litigationinvolving many other products, includingpharmaceuticals.