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Posted Oct. 20, 2010

Cook Wins State Bar IP Law Writing Award

Timothy Cook

A third-year Law School student is the winner of the Virginia State Bar’s 2010 Intellectual Property Law Student Writing Competition, the organization announced.

Timothy A. Cook won for his article, "A Comparative Institutional Analysis of Pharmaceutical Reverse-Payment Settlement Regulations."

The Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Law Section presents the annual writing competition, which is open to all law students in the state and includes a $4,000 prize.

Cook, a native of Ohio, studied chemistry at Harvard University before coming to the Law School. His interest in the sciences led to his study of intellectual property and patent law. The paper topic, reverse-payment settlement, was timely, he said.

“It is an issue the courts are struggling with right now,” he said. “A scholarly paper can contribute something to the debate.”

The question, according to Cook, falls between the pro-innovation stance of patent law and the pro-competition policies of anti-trust law.

Reverse settlement occurs when generic drugmakers sue to end patent protection for a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s patented drug. The manufacturer will offer a de facto settlement to the generic firm to protect its patent. Cook’s paper dealt with a reverse-payment settlement in which pharmaceutical giant Bayer paid generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Barr Laboratories rather than lose its patent for the antibiotic Cipro.

The settlement was deemed legal, despite its apparent violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, because it falls under the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act, designed to promote research by large companies while allowing generic drug makers to proceed with marketing generic versions of medications, he said.

Cook learned of the award from a message he received just after Professor Margo Bagley’s class. The timing was fitting, as he’d originally written the paper for her Current Issues in Patent Law seminar in spring 2010.  

“I remember reading the first draft of Tim’s paper and thinking ‘This is really good!  This is almost ready for publication!’ It was that well written,” Bagley said. “Tim shows all the makings of a first-rate scholar with this piece. It was well-researched, posed an interesting question and approached the analysis from a novel perspective.”

Cook’s broad interests are also noteworthy, Bagley said. “I am continually impressed by his wide range of legal interests that comes through in the contributions he makes to class discussions.”

Cook praised the quality of the intellectual law faculty at the Law School. “All of Professor Bagley’s classes have been great,” he said. “They’ve challenged me to think about the policies behind patent law and intellectual property.”

Cook is the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law, and will join Debevoise and Plimpton, LLP, in New York after graduation this spring.

Reported by tim arnold