Orange County Business Journal

Appeals Court Overturns Allergan Loss on Latisse

Vita Reed Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. on Tuesday got a win in its battle to defend patents for its Latisse eyelash grower when a federal appeals court reversed a lower court loss.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also sent the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for reconsideration.

Allergan had originally filed suit against several companies, including Henderson, Nev.-based Athena Cosmetics Inc. and two Scottsdale, Ariz. Companies, Cosmetic Alchemy LLC and Stella International LLC, in 2009.

The drug maker alleged those companies of either infringing upon Latisse’s patents or inducing others to infringe, according to a Reuters report.

The district court dismissed that case, ruling that Allergan failed to prove that it was injured by patent infringement.

But the appeals court, which specializes in patent cases, disagreed with the lower court’s ruling, saying that Allergan had “plainly alleged an economic injury that was the result of an unfair business practice.”

Latisse, which was introduced in 2009, accounted for $25.3 million of Allergan’s $1.3 billion in first-quarter sales.

It came about after Allergan found that its active ingredient, which is also part of the Lumigan eye drug, grew lashes as a side effect.