Political Law

SAHAR INTERNATIONAL v. WARNER LAMBERT G.R. No. 194872 June 9, 2014 J. Perlas-Bernabe Moot and Academic Case

FACTS:

Warner Lambert, a foreign corporation, is the registered owner of three Philippine patents for the pharmaceutical substance Atorvastatin which reduces the amount of bad cholesterol, increases the level of good cholesterol in one’s blood.

Respondent Pfizer is the exclusive licensee of Warner Lambert to import, market, distribute, and sell products covered by the subject patents in the Philippines.

Pfizer discovered that Sahar has been selling and distributing Atorvastatin Calcium under the brand name Atopitar in several provinces of the Philippines; and that Sahar’s marketing ads showed that Atopitar is manufactured by Geofman Pharmaceuticals of Pakistan.

Pfizer immediately sent numerous letters to Sahar informing the latter of Warner Lambert’s patents over Atorvastatin and demanding it to cease and desist from selling and distributing said pharmaceutical substance under the brand name Atopitar. However, Sahar did not heed such demands

Thus, respondents filed a Complaint for Patent Infringement, Damages, and Injunction

The RTC Ruling denied respondents’ application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the alleged patent infringement of Sahar. Its subsequent MR was also denied. Aggrieved, respondents filed a petition before the CA.

The CA annulled and set aside the assailed orders of the RTC.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the CA was correct in issuing a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining Sahar, its agents, representatives, and assigns, during the pendency of Civil Case No. 08-424 from making, using or offering for sale, or distributing Atopitar in the Philippine market.

RULING:

The petition is dismissed on the ground of mootness.

A case or issue is considered moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that an adjudication of the case or a declaration on the issue would be of no practical value or use. In such instance, there is no actual substantial relief which a petitioner would be entitled to, and which would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Courts generally decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on the ground of mootness. This is because the judgment will not serve any useful purpose or have any practical legal effect because, in the nature of things, it cannot be enforced.

Applying the foregoing, the Court finds that the CA’s supervening promulgation of its Decision which reversed the RTC’s Judgment and thereby made the writ of preliminary injunction permanent – rendered the present case moot and academic. This is because the primordial issue raised in the instant petition is precisely the propriety of the aforesaid issuance. Since the writ of preliminary injunction is but an incident of the patent infringement case which had already been resolved by the CA, ruling on its propriety would be merely an academic exercise carrying no practical effect. Accordingly, the Court is constrained to dismiss the instant petition.

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