The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday (Jan. 23) rejected four patents on Gilead Sciences' antiretroviral drug Viread, Reuters reports. Viread is known generically as tenofovir and is sold as part of Gilead's combination therapies Truvada and Atripla.
According to Reuters, the not-for-profit group Public Patent Foundation, or PUBPAT, last year submitted evidence to PTO that the scientific knowledge on which the four patents were based existed before Gilead held the patents (Beasley, Reuters, 1/23). The foundation in its challenge to the patents submitted prior knowledge that Gilead had not disclosed to PTO during the patent application process. In its challenge, PUBPAT said that the prior knowledge would have prevented PTO from issuing the patents (PUBPAT release, 1/23).
Amy Flood, a spokesperson for Gilead, said that rejection is a "typical step in the re-examination process," adding that although the "process may take some time," the company does not "believe the exclusivity of our product is in jeopardy" (Reuters, 1/23).