Volume 40 (2017) / Issue 3
Within the tool-box developed by originator companies in order to prepare and respond to generic entry, a prominent position must be recognized to a category of patent strategies particularly controversial under antitrust scrutiny, i.e. patent settlement agreements, in particular in the form of reverse payment patent settlements (also called pay-for-delay settlements), due to the fact that they provide for the patentee to pay the alleged infringer, rather than the opposite, with the aim of delaying its market entry. It is a fact that reverse payment settlement agreements arise mainly in the pharmaceutical industry. The article firstly analyses US and EU regulatory frameworks in order to highlight similarities and differences between them. Then, it examines the relevant case law in both contexts with a view to conducting a comparative study. Finally, the article discusses the approaches to reverse payment patent settlements adopted by antitrust authorities and courts and their clashes with intellectual property law, and contains a final proposal for the assessment of these agreements.
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