U.S. District Court rules Cipla, Velcera's veterinary flea spot-on violated Merial patents on Frontline; orders seizure
Jun 30, 2011
Macon, Ga. – A U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia ruled that sales of PetArmor™ Plus by Cipla Ltd. and Velcera Inc. infringed on Merial's patents covering its flea-and-tick product FRONTLINE Plus®.
In fact, the court barred the two companies from further sales of PetArmor Plus in the United States and ordered the seizure of existing inventory starting in the next 60 days.
Cipla vowed today to appeal the decision, according to reports.
However, U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land found Cipla in contempt of a March 6, 2008 order prohibiting the company from infringing on Merial's patents.
The court ruled that both pet-health companies were aware that their sales of PetArmor™ Plus products infringed Merial's patent and barred those two companies from further sales of these products in the United States.
According to Land’s decision, “The court orders Cipla and Velcera to produce to Merial for destruction all inventory existing in the United States of any veterinary products manufactured by Cipla that contain fipronil and methoprene, including but not limited to the veterinary products that contain fipronil and methoprene sold under the brand names Protektor Plus, PetArmor Plus, TrustGard Plus and Velcera Fipronil Plus."
In addition, Land said he would conduct a hearing regarding damages and monetary sanctions that may be appropriate "based on Velcera and Cipla’s violation of the court's order."
The hearing will be to determine an award to Merial for damages relating "to all sales committed in violation of the court's order."
"We are pleased that the court recognized the 'contumacious' nature of Velcera and Cipla's conduct and prevented them from further violating Merial's intellectual property rights," says Merial Executive Chairman José Barella in a prepared statement. "Merial has invested considerable time and resources developing its flagship FRONTLINE Plus® products, and is confident that Judge Land's well-reasoned order will be affirmed. Merial is committed to continuing its support of the veterinary profession and will continue to vigorously enforce its patents covering FRONTLINE Plus® products."