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Allergan Strikes Unconventional Deal to Protect Patents

Allergan, Plc has struck a deal with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe that will protect its patents on the popular eye medication, Restasis.  “The Tribe, a recognized sovereign tribal government, is filing a motion to dismiss the ongoing inter partes review (IPR) of the RESTASIS® patents based on their sovereign immunity from IPR challenges,” states Allergan’s recent press release.

The global pharmaceutical company announced last week that it had transferred patents related to the chronic dry eye medication to the Native American tribe, after the Tribe agreed to grant Allergan an exclusive license on the patents for a sum of $13.75 million.   Under the new deal, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will also be eligible to receive as much as $15 million in ongoing royalties.

Not only does Allergan’s deal mean that the patents are no longer subject to review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, but it could also potentially limit generic manufacturers’ abilities to challenge the company in federal court.  It’s also possible that other big-name pharmaceutical companies will follow Allergen’s lead, continuing to hold a controversial monopoly on the drug market.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, however, seems to be optimistic about entering a new sector.  In a press release regarding the transfer, Allergan Chief Legal Officer, Bob Bailey, states “We are impressed with the Tribe’s thoughtful and enterprising approach, which will allow them to achieve their goals of self-reliance and help them address the most urgent needs in their community.”

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