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Warner Chilcott Company, LLC v. Mylan Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 23, 2013

WARNER CHILCOTT COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
MYLAN INC., et al., Defendants. WARNER CHILCOTT COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LUPIN LTD., et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

DOUGLAS E. ARPERT, District Judge.

This matter mater comes before the Court on Plaintiff Warner Chilcott Company, LLC's ("Plaintiff" or "Warner Chilcott") application to compel certain discovery from Defendants Mylan Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (collectively, "Mylan"), Lupin Ltd., Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (collectively, "Lupin"), and Famy Care Ltd. ("Famy Care"). Plaintiff seeks (1) documents relating to development of Mylan and Lupin's respective ANDA products, including documents relating to development formulations which preceded and underlie Defendants' final ANDA product formulations; and (2) an Order compelling Defendant Famy Care to produce Mahesh Gupta and Anup Parekh for Rule 30(b)(1) depositions in the United States. Defendants have opposed Plaintiff's application. The Court has considered the Parties' submissions and heard argument on May 22, 2013. For the reasons stated on the record and for those that follow, Plaintiff's application is GRANTED, in part, and DENIED, in part.

I.

Plaintiff developed two chewable and palatable oral contraceptive products covered by U.S. Patent No. 6, 667, 050 ("the '050 patent"), Femcon® Fe (which was first marketed in November 2006) and Generess® Fe (which was first marketed in May 2011). Pl.'s Letter at 1. Mylan and Lupin have each sought to develop generic versions of Femcon® Fe and Generess® Fe. Id. at 2. In this action, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants' respective generic versions of Generess® Fe infringe the '050 patent. Id. at 1. Critical to the instant application, Plaintiff further claims that in each case, Defendants' development of their generic Femcon® Fe products preceded their development of their generic Generess® Fe products. Id. at 2.

II.

Of course, the scope of discovery in federal litigation is broad. See FED. R. CIV. P. 26(b)(1). Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense. Id . Information sought by the parties need not be admissible at trial if it is "reasonably calculated" to lead to admissible evidence. Id.

The precise boundaries of the Rule 26 relevance standard depend upon the context of each particular action, and the determination of relevance is within the discretion of the District Court. See Barnes Found. v. Twp. of Lower Merion , 1996 WL 653114, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 1, 1996). Importantly, "courts have construed this rule liberally, creating a broad vista for discovery." Takacs v. Union County , 2009 WL 3048471, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 23, 2009) (citing Tele-Radio Sys. Ltd. v. DeForest Elecs., Inc. , 92 F.R.D. 371, 375 (D.N.J. 1981)); see also Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders , 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978); Evans v. Employee Benefit Plan , 2006 WL 1644818, at *4 (D.N.J. Jun. 6, 2006). Thus, the relevancy standard is satisfied, and discovery requests should be granted, if there is any possibility that the information sought may be relevant to the general subject matter of the action. Oppenheimer , 437 U.S. 340, 351. "However, the burden remains on the party seeking discovery to show that the information sought is relevant to the subject matter of the action and may lead to admissible evidence.'" Takacs , 2009 WL 3048471, at *1 (citation omitted).

III.

Plaintiff seeks (1) documents relating to development of Myland and Lupin's respective ANDA products, in particular documents relating to development formulations which preceded and underlie Defendants' final ANDA product formulations (i.e., documents relating to Mylan and Lupin's work in developing Femcon ® Fe); and (2) an order compelling Defendant Famy Care to produce Mahesh Gupta and Anup Parekh for FED. R. CIV. P. 30(b)(1) depositions in the United States. Plaintiff's requests will be addressed in turn.

A. Defendants' ANDA Product Development

Plaintiff seeks an order directing Defendants to search for and produce documents generated during their research and development efforts relating to their generic versions of Femcon® Fe. Plaintiff's requests are intended to learn, inter alia, "how Defendants arrived at the formulation of its current generic product, why they use particular ingredients in that product and what testing was done as part of their development work." Pl.'s Letter at 2.

Plaintiff and Defendants Mylan and Famy Care have reached an agreement as to this issue. Mylan and Famy Care will conduct agreed-upon searches for, and produce documents relating to, the development of their bioequivalent version of Plaintiff's Femcon ® Fe product. Mylan Letter at 1. This portion of Plaintiffs' application is therefore moot.

Lupin, however, opposes Plaintiffs' application. Lupin contends the discovery sought is not relevant to either invalidity or infringement. Lupin Letter at 2. The Court agrees with Lupin that the information sought does not bear on invalidity. The issue of infringement, though, requires some attention.

Defendants, including Lupin, dispute whether their accused generic products are palatable. Thus, according to Plaintiff, "how Defendants developed their generic product, why they use a sweetener and a flavoring agent in their generic product, [] what testing Defendants did on their generic product[, ] and any development formulations that preceded the final product are directly relevant [to] whether their accused products are palatable." Pl.'s Letter at 4. Plaintiff ...


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