Barry Harris and Matthew Wright, along with their co-authors Kevin Murphy and Robert Willig, contributed to Antitrust magazine with their article Activating Actavis: A More Complete Story. The article, which will appear in the Spring 2014 issue, addresses the Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Actavis, Inc.
ABSTRACT: In FTC v. Actavis, Inc. the Supreme Court asked whether a patent settlement agreement involving a so-called “reverse payment” from a patent holder to an alleged infringer of a pharmaceutical patent “can sometimes unreasonably diminish competition in violation of the antitrust laws.” Edlin, Hemphill, Hovenkamp, and Shapiro (2013) propose a method of evaluating the competitive effects of reverse payment settlement agreements that compares the magnitude of the reverse payment to the sum of the patent holder’s prospective litigation costs and the value of services provided by the alleged infringer to the patent holder. This paper shows that the method proposed by Edlin et al. holds only under limited conditions. This paper also identifies conditions where a reverse payment in excess of litigation costs may lead to earlier generic entry and would be pro-competitive. In addition to avoided litigation costs, relevant factors in evaluating patent settlements involving a reverse payment may include inter alia the risk-tolerance of the parties, the level of the drug’s sales, the parties’ expectations and information asymmetries related to future competition for the drug, the parties’ subjective views of the likely outcome of the litigation, the parties’ differences in time-values of money, the applicability of Hatch-Waxman first-filer exclusivity, the relative size of the alleged net reverse payment, and the extent of the alleged delay and associated diminution of competition. A PDF file of the article can be downloaded here. A more technical version of the article can be downloaded here.