Board Allows For-Profit Group to Short Sell Pharma Shares During Patent Review

Sept. 30, 2015

A tribunal of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied a request by Celgene Corp to sanction hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and his Coalition for Affordable Drugs, allowing the group to continue to use patent reviews as potential investment strategies.

In July, Celgene accused Bass of abusing the patent review process by short-selling pharmaceutical shares that drop when a patent review is filed.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) dismissed Celegene's claims, stating that, "Profit is at the heart of nearly every patent," and "as such, an economic motive for challenging a patent claim does not itself raise abuse of process issues."

According the Reuters, since February, Bass has asked the patent agency to examine 31 drug-related patents, including five of Celgene's, through a procedure called inter partes review. Bass is seeking to lower drug costs for consumers, arguing that drug makers are improperly extending patent protection in questionable ways.

Read the Reuters article