Lance Wyatt


The public’s interest in medicine and good health is substantial. However, this interest is harmed when important medical devices or pharmaceuticals, although infringing on valid patents, are suddenly taken off the market after a court grants a permanent injunction. While permanent injunctions were automatically granted by the Federal Circuit before the Supreme Court’s holding in eBay v. MercExchange, courts now have more discretion to deny injunctive relief. Now that courts have this newfound discretion after eBay, the public should no longer expect to be harmed by the sudden removal of medical supplies. Unfortunately, this has not been the course that all courts have taken post-eBay. Important medical supply alternatives continue to be taken off the market after a permanent injunction is granted. Because the public interest is still at risk due to courts’ treatment of injunctive relief, courts should apply a rebuttable presumption in medically related patent cases, finding that the public interest weighs against granting an injunction. This comment highlights the necessity for this rebuttable presumption to help protect the public health. In Part II, I provide a brief overview of the history of injunctive relief in patent infringement cases prior to 2006 and the few exceptions applied to deny injunctions. In Part III, I provide a full overview of the eBay v. MercExchange case, from its beginning in the district court, to its remand back to the district court after the landmark decision in the Supreme Court. Next, in Part IV, I provide an overview of general trends regarding injunctive relief in patent infringement cases after the Supreme Court’s eBay decision. I also analyze recent cases in the medical patent space and courts’ treatment of injunctive relief in such cases. Finally, in Part V, I express the importance of the public interest in medicine and the public health. I also layout the multiple reasons for the necessity of courts to apply a rebuttable presumption of public interest to deny injunctive relief in patent cases involving medically related patents. Finally, I emphasize the necessity of this rebuttable presumption by offering a set of hypothetical situations.