| WASHINGTON, April 14
WASHINGTON, April 14 Generic drug manufacturers
on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a lower court
ruling favoring them to take effect while the high court
considers an appeal in a patent fight over Teva Pharmaceutical
Industries Ltd's top-selling multiple sclerosis drug,
Novartis AG's Sandoz Inc, Momenta Pharmaceuticals
Inc, Mylan Inc and Natco Pharma Ltd were
responding to a stay application made by Teva to Chief Justice
John Roberts last week. The Supreme Court could now announce at
any time whether it will grant the request.
On March 31, the high court agreed to hear Teva's appeal of
a July 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal
Circuit in favor of the two teams of generic companies. Sandoz
is working with Momenta, and Mylan has joined with Natco.
The appeals court had upheld some of Teva's nine patents
involved in the drug, or portions of them, but declared several
invalid, meaning patent protections were set to expire in May
2014 instead of September 2015.
The outcome of the legal fight could determine how soon the
generic versions enter the market.
In their joint court filing, the companies said in part that
Teva had not shown that it would suffer "irreparable harm" if a
stay was not issued.
If Teva ultimately wins the Supreme Court case, it could
seek damages from the generic companies for its loss of market
share, their lawyers noted.
The Supreme Court will only hear oral arguments in the
Copaxone case after its 2014 term begins in October. A ruling
could come as late as June 2015.
The case is Teva v. Sandoz, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-854.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and