Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) announced the introduction of proposed legislation, Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs Act, which would permit the Patent and Trademark Office and the International Trade Commission to review patents regardless of any claim of tribal sovereign immunity made as part of sham transactions. The announcement explained that such claims of sovereign immunity “could lead to widespread patent abuse and increases costs for consumers”. This legislation is apparently responsive to Allergan’s assignment of patents covering its Restasis® dry eye treatment to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. We previously covered the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s denial of the Tribe’s motion to terminate inter partes review proceedings of these patents.
The Senators proposing the legislation are Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) along with Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and David Perdue (R-Georgia).