NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Federal and state regulators have challenged Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc’s WPI.N patent settlement with Solvay SA (SOLB.BR) over the Androgel testosterone gel, Watson said on Monday.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the State of California have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging the 2006 settlement is unlawful, said Watson, which is based in California.
Solvay had sued generic drugmaker Watson claiming that Watson’s generic version of Androgel infringed Solvay’s patent.
Under their patent settlement, Solvay granted Watson a non-exclusive license to the U.S. patents covering AndroGel, and Watson agreed not to start selling its generic product until August 2015 or until another company starts selling a generic version.
Watson said the settlement provides for generic versions of Androgel five years ahead of the expiration of the product’s patents.
“We are disappointed that the FTC has decided to challenge our patent settlement, as we believe the agreement fully complies with both the spirit and letter of the antitrust and consumer protection laws,” Watson Chief Executive Paul Bisaro said in a statement. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Derek Caney)