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Sanofi-Aventis v. Apotex Inc.

October 19, 2010

SANOFI-AVENTIS, SANOFI-SYNTHELABO INC., AND BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB SANOFI PHARMACEUTICALS HOLDING PARTNERSHIP, PLAINTIFF,
v.
APOTEX INC. AND APOTEX CORP., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Judge.

OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiffs Sanofi-Aventis, Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Holding Partnership (collectively, "Sanofi") seek summary judgment on the issue of damages in this patent dispute concerning the drug Plavix. Because defendants Apotex Inc. and Apotex Corp. (collectively, "Apotex") are liable to Sanofi for fifty percent of a net sales figure that the parties agree is $884,418,724, Sanofi's motion for $442,209,362 in damages is granted. Sanofi is also entitled to interest and costs pursuant to 35 U.S.C. section 284.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 21, 2002, Sanofi filed this patent infringement suit against Apotex. This Court's Opinion dated August 31, 2006 recounted the history of this protracted litigation and granted Sanofi's motion for a preliminary injunction. See Sanofi-Synthelabo v. Apotex Inc., 488 F. Supp. 2d 317 (S.D.N.Y. 2006), aff'd,470 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2006). The Court assumes familiarity with that Opinion. In 2007, the Court held a five-week bench trial on the merits, after which it found that Sanofi's patent on clopidogrel bisulfate (the chemical name for Plavix)- U.S. Patent No. 4,847,265 ("'265 patent")-was valid and enforceable, and that Apotex had violated the patent by manufacturing and distributing a generic form of the drug. The Federal Circuit affirmed that determination in December 2008, and the United States Supreme Court denied Apotex's petition for certiorari in November 2009. See Sanofi-Synthelabo v. Apotex Inc., 492 F. Supp. 2d 353 (S.D.N.Y. 2007), aff'd, 550 F.3d 1075 (Fed. Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 493 (2009).*fn1

The only aspect of this action that remains unresolved is the amount of damages to be awarded plaintiffs. The parties specifically limited the amount of damages awardable in this action in a settlement agreement entered into prior to trial (Settlement Agreement between Sanofi and Apotex dated May 26, 2006 ("Settlement Agreement"), attached to Decl. of David Armillei dated Dec. 18, 2009, Ex. 2.) Sanofi has moved for summary judgment in the amount of $442,209,362, plus prejudgment interest-at the average annual prime rate, compounding daily, from August 2006 to the present-as well as the costs of the action and statutory post-judgment interest. Defendants contend that only Apotex Corp.-and not Apotex Inc.-is liable for damages and that Sanofi is not entitled to any prejudgment interest. Defendants also argue that if the Court does award prejudgment interest, material issues of fact preclude summary judgment as to how it should be calculated.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only if the evidence shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the Court "is to resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought." Patterson v. Cnty. of Oneida, 375 F.3d 206, 219 (2d Cir. 2004). Nonetheless, the party opposing summary judgment "may not rely on mere conclusory allegations nor speculation, but instead must offer some hard evidence" in support of its factual assertions. D'Amico v. City of New York, 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998).

B. Apotex's Liability

The parties entered into the Settlement Agreement to govern the damages from Apotex's patent infringement. This agreement specifically defines "Apotex" as "Apotex Inc. and Apotex Corp., collectively and individually, and including any entity now or hereafter owned or controlled by any of them." (Settlement Agreement ¶ 1.) Bernard Sherman, CEO of Apotex Inc., signed the agreement explicitly "[f]or Apotex Inc[.] and Apotex Corp." (Id. at 5). Accordingly, Apotex Inc. and Apotex Corp. are jointly and severally liable for damages pursuant to the Settlement Agreement.*fn2

C. Damages Amount

Sanofi seeks summary judgment awarding 50% of the agreed upon net sales figure of $884,418,724. The Settlement Agreement provides that:

If the litigation results in a judgment that the '265 patent is not invalid or unenforceable, Sanofi agrees that its actual damages for any past infringement by Apotex, up to the date on which Apotex is enjoined, will be 50% of Apotex's net sales of clopidogrel products if Sanofi has not launched an authorized generic and 40% of Apotex's net sales if Sanofi has launched an authorized generic. Sanofi further agrees that it will not seek increased damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284. (Settlement Agreement at ¶ 14(ii).) Pursuant to this agreement, Apotex is liable to Sanofi for fifty percent of its net sales resulting from a three-week period in August 2006 during which it flooded the market with its generic product before being preliminarily enjoined from doing so by this Court, which found the '265 patent to be valid and enforceable.*fn3 (See id.) See also SanofiSynthelabo, 488 F. Supp. 2d at 321.

The parties have conducted discovery and fully briefed Sanofi's motion for summary judgment on damages. They have agreed that Apotex's net sales for the relevant period were $884,418,724. (Pl.'s Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 1; Def.'s Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 1.) Thus, the underlying damages ...


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