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SEC Filings

PROTEON THERAPEUTICS INC filed this Form 10-Q on 11/07/2017
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The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of some countries, particularly developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, especially those relating to biotechnology. This could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents, if obtained, or the misappropriation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, many foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, patents may provide limited or no benefit. Patent protection must ultimately be sought on a country-by-country basis, which is an expensive and time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes. Accordingly, we may choose not to seek patent protection in certain countries, and we will not have the benefit of patent protection in such countries.


Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biopharmaceuticals, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.


Some of our intellectual property may have been discovered through government funded programs and thus may be subject to federal regulations such as government “march-in” rights, certain reporting requirements, and a preference for United States industry. Compliance with these regulations may limit our exclusive rights, subject us to expenditure of resources with respect to reporting requirements, and limit our ability to contract with foreign manufacturers.


Some of our intellectual property rights may have been generated through the use of United States government funding and therefore are subject to certain federal regulations. For example, our patents relating to some therapeutic uses of vonapanitase and associated systems and kits that include a catheter, which we refer to as the “therapy family,” arose from research funded by the United States government. As a result, the United States government has certain rights to this intellectual property pursuant to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, or Bayh-Dole Act. These United States government rights in certain inventions developed under a government-funded program include a non-exclusive, non-transferable, irrevocable worldwide license to use inventions for any governmental purpose. In addition, the United States government has the right to require us to grant exclusive, partially exclusive, or non-exclusive licenses to any of these inventions to a third party if it determines that: (i) adequate steps have not been taken to commercialize the invention; (ii) government action is necessary to meet public health or safety needs; or (iii) government action is necessary to meet requirements for public use under federal regulations, also referred to as “march-in rights.” The United States government also has the right to take title to these inventions if we, or the applicable licensor, fail to disclose the invention to the government and fail to file an application to register the intellectual property within specified time limits. In addition, the United States government may acquire title to these inventions in any country in which a patent application is not filed within specified time limits. Intellectual property generated under a government funded program is also subject to certain reporting requirements, compliance with which may require us or the applicable licensor to expend substantial resources. In addition, the United States government requires that any products embodying the subject invention or produced through the use of the subject invention be manufactured substantially in the United States. The manufacturing preference requirement can be waived if the owner of the intellectual property can show that reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to grant licenses on similar terms to potential licensees that would be likely to manufacture substantially in the United States or that under the circumstances domestic manufacture is not commercially feasible. This preference for United States manufacturers may limit our ability to contract with foreign product manufacturers for products covered by the applicable intellectual property.


We currently do not plan to apply for additional United States government funding, but if we do, and we discover compounds or drug or biological candidates as a result of such funding, intellectual property rights to these discoveries may be subject to the applicable provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act.


If we do not obtain additional protection under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments and similar foreign legislation by extending the patent protection for vonapanitase, our business may be materially harmed.


Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of the first FDA marketing approval of vonapanitase and, if applicable, any additional product candidates, a United States patent that we own or license may be eligible for limited patent term restoration under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit extension of one patent that covers an FDA-approved drug or biologic that contains an active ingredient or salt or ester of the active ingredient that has not previously been marketed for up to five years and no more than fourteen years after product approval for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. The length of the extension is calculated by adding one half of the time between the IND effective date and a company's initial submission of a marketing application, plus the entire time between the submission of the marketing application and the FDA's approval of the application. During this period of extension, the scope of protection is limited to the approved product for approved uses (for patents claiming a product) and any use claimed by the patent and approved for the product (for patents claiming a method of using a product).