Drugmaker Allergan PLC (NYSE:AGN) has been taking advantage of Native American sovereignty to protect its patent for dry-eye treatment Restasis, rival Mylan Inc (NYSE:MYL) has alleged in a court filing.
Allergan on Friday said it had reached a deal to transfer several patents relating to Restasis to the Native American St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.
Mylan said in Federal District Court in Marshall, Texas, that Allergan was “attempting to misuse Native American sovereignty to shield invalid patents from cancellation”.
Allegan claims the tribe’s status as a sovereign nation means the patents for the drug would no longer be subject to review by the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
Generic drug companies often challenge patents before the board.
However, Allergan is not the only company to use the Regis Mohawk Tribe to shield its patents.
According to US Patent and Trademark Office records, SRC Labs LLC transferred around 40 patents to the tribe on 2 August, suggesting that such a tactic could be used by companies beyond the pharmaceutical sector.
Shares in Allergan edged down 0.48% to US$230.26 in afternoon trading.