Articles Posted in U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

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In 2006 InterDigital granted LG a license to certain patents concerning devices capable of wireless voice or data communications, including devices designed to operate in accordance with second-generation (2G) wireless standards and devices designed to operate in accordance with third-generation (3G) wireless standards. After the contract terminated, InterDigital filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, claiming violation of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, by importing devices that infringed patents relating to 3G wireless technology. The ITC terminated the investigation as to LG, based on an arbitration clause in the contract. The Federal Circuit reversed, holding that there was no plausible argument that the case arose from the patent license contract between the companies. View "InterDigital Commc'ns, LLC v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law

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In 1985, Behringwerke filed a U.S. patent application directed to the use of DNA sequences (enhancers) identified in human cytomegalovirus. An enhancer, when introduced into a cell that produces a drug, can enable the cell to produce the drug at a much higher rate. In 1992, Behringwerke and Genentech entered into a licensing agreement related to enhancers that matured into the patents-in-suit; for fixed annual payments, Genentech could practice the patents for research purposes. Genentech was to pay a royalty on sales of commercially marketable goods incorporating a “Licensed Product.” The Agreement, governed by German law, required that disputes be settled by arbitration. Behringwerke sold its pharmaceutical business to Sanofi, but the Agreement and patent rights stayed with Hoechst; both are German entities. In 2008, Sanofi sued Genentech for infringement based on sales of the allegedly infringing drugs Rituxan and Avastin, which Genentech had not identified as licensed products. Hoechst demanded arbitration before a European arbitrator. The district court found no infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Arbitration continued. On remand, Genentech sought to enjoin Sanofi from continuing the foreign arbitration. The district court denied the motion, finding that Hoechst is a party to the arbitration, but not a party to the litigation and that an injunction would frustrate policies favoring enforcement of forum selection clauses, and would not be in the interest of international comity. The arbitrator determined that German substantive law, not U.S. patent law, would be used, that a drug could be a licensed article even though it did not contain the patented enhancers, if those enhancers were used in its manufacture, and that Genentech was liable for damages. The Federal Circuit affirmed that Genentech was not entitled to an injunction. View "Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland, GMBH v. Genentech, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1996, RG, exclusive licensee of a German patent and corresponding patents in the U.S., Europe, and Japan relating to genetic identification, entered into a license agreement with Promega, granting Promega certain licenses. The agreement included a clause, providing that “all controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement, or relating to the breach thereof, shall be resolved by arbitration” and prohibited assignment without consent. Assignments were approved in 2001 and 2003; a subsequent assignment from IP to LT was not approved. In 2008 LT believed that Promega was paying less than required royalties. Negotiations failed and LT demanded arbitration. Promega sought a declaratory judgment of non-arbitrability, alleging infringement of five patents and contenting that rights under the 1996 agreement had never been assigned to LT. IP then moved to compel arbitration. The district court ordered arbitration, finding that IP was the assignee, remained in existence, and that it was irrelevant that Promega alleged that IP was merely a puppet of LT. The Federal Circuit affirmed. View "Promega Corp. v. Life Tech. Corp." on Justia Law