Protecting patents by Native Americans

20-Oct-2017 - USA

By using a novel patent strategy companies try to protect their intellectual property in the US. And this is how it works: Giving your patent to a body called “sovereign immunites” makes this patent not attackable to a patent review called IPR (inter partes review). A large pharmaceutical company tried this.

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Allergan gave their patents regarding a dry-eye drug to an American native tribe and payed them several million dollars as license fee. An already running attack on this patent based on IPR was rejected by lawyers of Allergan and the tribe, calling on “sovereign immunity”. In this particular case this was rejected by a federal judge due to obviousness of the patent content.

But this is only one of many examples of this kind of transaction. Not only Allergan but also major tech companies are trying to circumvent IPR by this mode of action. This also spread word in American politics and a United States Senator started fighting against this, in her eyes, sham.

Further reading is provided in the link section on the right at arstechnica.

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