Bayer Sues Watson Over Challenge to Patent for Beyaz Birth Control Pill

A unit of Bayer AG (BAYN), Germany’s largest drugmaker, sued Watson (WPI) Pharmaceuticals Inc., accusing the generic-drug maker of violating a patent for Beyaz birth control pills.

Watson, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, is trying to develop a copy of Beyaz in violation of the patent, Bayer Pharma AG and partner Merck & Cie claimed today in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Bayer and Merck “are entitled to an award of damages and treble damages for any commercial sale or use” of Watson’s generic version of Beyaz, the companies said.

Bayer, of Leverkusen, Germany, asked a judge to ban the sale of any Watson birth control product based on the patent.

Watson plans to challenge the validity of the patent, Charlie Mayr, a spokesman for Watson, said in a telephone interview today.

The lawsuit “initiates the formal process of challenging the patent on the product,” Mayr said.

The case is Merck Cie v. Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., 12- cv-00161, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 6,153,401.

-- With assistance from Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware. Editors: Michael Hytha, Charles Carter

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware, at schurch3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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