Welcome to the Reuters.com BETA. Read our Editor's note on how we're helping professionals make smart decisions.
Skip to main content

Merck, Pfizer's Wyeth settle pneumococcal vaccine patent dispute

2 minute read

Boxes of the drug Prevnar 13, made by Pfizer Pharmaceutical, sit on a counter at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S. January 9, 2020. REUTERS/George Frey

  • Pfizer said parties settled international vaccine patent dispute
  • Merck sued in Delaware to head off Wyeth infringement claims

The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.

(Reuters) - Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp and Pfizer's Wyeth LLC subsidiary have resolved a patent dispute over their competing vaccines for preventing diseases including pneumonia and meningitis, according to a Delaware court filing.

The parties asked U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews on Tuesday to dismiss the claims with prejudice. Pfizer spokesperson Pam Eisele said in an email on Wednesday that the companies had resolved their worldwide dispute over the vaccine patents. Details of the settlement weren't immediately available.

Kenilworth, N.J.-based Merck had requested a declaratory judgment from the court in January that its Vaxneuvance vaccine for diseases caused by pneumococcus bacteria, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in July, didn't infringe three patents related to Wyeth's Prevnar vaccines. Merck's complaint said it and New York-based Wyeth had been embroiled in patent proceedings related to the vaccines for over four years in several countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK.

Merck and its attorneys Anthony Insogna of Jones Day and John Day of Ashby & Geddes didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Merck attorney Arlene Chow of Latham & Watkins declined to comment.

Wyeth's attorneys Dimitrios Drivas of White & Case and Arthur Connolly of Connolly Gallagher didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Merck said in its complaint that it was suing to "clear the way" to deliver its vaccine in the U.S. by "lifting the threat of an imminent lawsuit by Wyeth." Wyeth later countersued Merck for allegedly infringing the Prevnar patents.

The complaint said Merck's vaccine was the first "real alternative" to Wyeth's Prevnar conjugate pneumonia vaccines in the U.S. Conjugate vaccines create a stronger immune response than earlier vaccines.

The case is Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v. Wyeth LLC, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:21-cv-00024.

For Merck: Anthony Insogna of Jones Day; Arlene Chow of Latham & Watkins; and John Day of Ashby & Geddes

For Wyeth: Dimitrios Drivas of White & Case; and Arthur Connolly of Connolly Gallagher

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

More from Reuters