The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis M. Cavanaugh, U.S.D.J.
Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc.'s ("Ortho") motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) to certify an April 4, 2007 order issued by Judge John C. Lifland in civil action no. 02-5707/04-0886 as a final judgment so Ortho can immediately appeal. For the following reasons, the Court will deny that motion. Further, the Court will consolidate civil action no. 02-5707/04-0886 with a related action currently pending before the Court, civil action no. 06-3533.
A. The Claims and Summary Judgment
Motion in 02-5707/04-0886 Consolidated civil actions 02-5707 and 04-0886 are patent infringement suits involving Ortho's pain-relief drug Ultracet. Ortho filed infringement claims under the Hatch-Waxman Act, 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2)(A), against Kali Laboratories, Inc. ("Kali") and Barr Laboratories, Inc. ("Barr") after both Defendants filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications ("ANDA") with the Food and Drug Association seeking approval to sell generic versions of Ultracet. Ortho alleged that Defendants' ANDAs infringed Claim 6 of its U.S. Patent No. 5,336,691 ("the '691 patent").*fn1
Kali and Barr responded with counterclaims against all claims of the '691 patent, not just Claim 6. Specifically, Kali asserted counterclaims seeking declarations of: (1) non-infringement of all claims of the '691 patent; (2) invalidity (based on anticipation, obviousness, indefiniteness, and the public-use bar) of all clams of the '691 patent; and (3) unenforceability of the '691 patent due to inequitable conduct. Barr asserted counterclaims seeking declarations of: (1) non-infringement of all claims of the '691 patent, and (2) invalidity (based on anticipation) of all claims of the '691 patent.
After discovery, Kali and Barr both moved for summary judgment of (1) non-infringement of only Claim 6 under § 271(e)(2)(A), and (2) invalidity of Claim 6.
B. The '221 Reissue Patent
While the cases were pending, Ortho surrendered the '691 patent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"), and filed a reissue application, conceding to the PTO that certain claims of the '691 patent were anticipated by prior art. On August 1, 2006 the PTO granted Ortho U.S. Reissue Patent No. RE39,221 ("the '221 patent"), which retained only Claim 6 from the '691 patent, and added 62 additional new claims.
1. Ortho Files a New Infringement Suit (No. 06-3533)
Immediately after the '221 patent reissued, Ortho filed a separate suit (No. 06-3533) against Kali, Barr, and Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. ("Caraco"), alleging actual infringement of all claims of the '221 patent, except for Claim 6. Kali and Barr responded to Ortho's new claims with counterclaims seeking declarations of non-infringement and invalidity of all claims of the '221 patent. In addition, Barr seeks a declaration of unenforceability due to inequitable conduct, and a declaration of intervening rights. Caraco is not asserting counterclaims against Ortho.
2. The Parties Amend their Pleadings in No. 02-5707/04-0886
About two months later, in October 2006, Ortho amended its complaints in no. 02-5707 and no. 04-0886 to reflect that it was now asserting that Claim 6 of the '221 patent was infringed, instead of the '691 patent. It did not expand its infringement allegations to cover all claims of the '221 patent. In turn, Kali and Barr amended their answers to reflect that their counterclaims were now directed at all claims of the reissued '221 patent. Additionally, Kali added a counterclaim seeking a declaration of intervening rights. After this round of amending, Kali's and Barr's answers in 02-5707 and 04-0886 now assert the exact same counterclaims against Ortho as their answers in 06-3533.
C. Judge Lifland's April 4, 2007 Summary Judgment Ruling
After construing Claim 6 of the '221 patent, Judge Lifland made the following rulings. In no. 02-5707, Kali was granted summary judgment of non-infringement of Claim 6 under § 271(e)(2)(A), and of invalidity of Claim 6, for anticipation and obviousness. In no. 04-0886, Ortho was granted summary judgment of infringement of Claim 6 under § 271(e)(2)(A), and Barr was granted summary judgment of invalidity of Claim 6 for anticipation.
As a result of Judge Lifland's finding that Claim 6 is invalid, Ortho concedes that its claims that Claim 6 was actually infringed under § 271(a) are moot. Thus, the only claims remaining in the case are Kali's and Barr's counterclaims, which as mentioned above, are duplicative of their counterclaims in no. 06-3533. In no. 02-5707, Kali's counterclaims for declarations of (1) non-infringement of all claims of the '221 patent except Claim 6; (2) invalidity of all claims of the '221 patent except Claim 6; (3) unenforceability of the '221 patent due to inequitable conduct; and (4) intervening rights, are still outstanding. In no. 04-0886, Barr's counterclaims for ...