IXCHEL PHARMA, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BIOGEN, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
Decided: September 17, 2020
Before: WALLACE, IKUTA, and CHRISTEN, Circuit Judges.
Richard Cheng-Hong Lin, Bunsow De Mory LLP, Redwood City, CA, Christopher Banys, Banys, P.C., Santa Clara, CA, for Plaintiff-Appellant Mark Samuel Popofsky, Attorney, Ropes & Gray LLP, Washington, DC, Rocky Chiu-feng Tsai, Attorney, Ropes & Gray LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Defendant-Appellee
Ixchel Pharma, LLC, appeals the district court's dismissal of its claims against Biogen, Inc. for (1) tortious interference with contractual relations, (2) intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, and (3) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.1 We affirm.
Given the California Supreme Court's answer to our certified questions, the district court correctly held that for Ixchel to state a claim against Biogen for tortious interference with contractual relations, it was required to allege that Biogen engaged in an independently wrongful act. Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc., 9 Cal.5th 1130, 1142–44, 1148–49, 266 Cal.Rptr.3d 665, 470 P.3d 571 (2020).
Ixchel argued that section 2.13 of Biogen's contract with Forward violated section 16600 of the California Business and Professions Code and thus constituted an independently wrongful act. The district court did not err in rejecting this argument. The district court correctly analyzed section 2.13 of the contract under a rule of reason to determine its validity, and concluded that section 2.13 was not an unreasonable restraint of competition and therefore did not violate section 16600. See Ixchel Pharma, 9 Cal.5th at 1162, 266 Cal.Rptr.3d 665, 470 P.3d 571. Ixchel did not argue on appeal that the district court erred in reaching this conclusion.
Given the district court's holding that section 2.13 did not violate section 16600, Ixchel did not plead an independently wrongful act. Thus, the district court did not err in holding that Ixchel failed to state a claim for tortious interference with contractual relations, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, or a violation of the UCL.
1. We previously rejected Biogen's argument that we lack jurisdiction under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to consider Ixchel's claim. See Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc., 930 F.3d 1031, 1035 n.5 (9th Cir. 2019), certified question answered, 9 Cal. 5th 1130, 266 Cal.Rptr.3d 665, 470 P.3d 571 (2020).
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