SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY AND IPR'S: AND NOW, THE REST OF THE STORY

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
June 14, 2019

Radio great Paul Harvey would always leave listeners hanging during his broadcast, then return from a commercial with "the rest of the story". Previously, I wrote on the Federal Circuit ruling with respect to Tribal Immunity (https://www.oblon.com/publications/tribal-immunity-in-ipr-is-dealt-a-death-blow-by-the-federal-circuit). At the end of that article I stated: "I note, however, that in the final sentence of their analysis, the Federal Circuit explicitly stated that this decision did NOT address whether there is any reason to treat state sovereign immunity differently with respect to IPR proceedings. That will remain to be seen…"... Read more

WASHINGTON U. v. WARF – An Implied Covenant Wins the Day

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
December 10, 2018

In a November 26, 2018 order, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ordered the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund (WARF) to pay The Washington University – St. Louis (Wash. U.) $31.6 million for breach of contract (The Washington University v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Civ. No. 13-2091-JFB). The case originated when Wash. U. filed suit against WARF for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and equitable accounting, relating to a 1995 agreement between the parties entitled "Inter-Institutional Agreement for Prevention of Hyperphosphatemia in Kidney Disorder Patients" (the "IIA"), and particularly relating to the drug paracalcitol. The IIA covered certain patent rights for US Patent 5,597,815, jointly owned by Wash. U. and WARF.... Read more

Assignor Estoppel and IPR's: Possible Impact of Arista v. Cisco on Employment Agreements and Assignment Agreements

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
November 16, 2018

In a November 9, 2018 decision (copy of decision linked below), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the doctrine of assignor estoppel does not apply in the inter partes review (IPR) context (see Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., (Fed. Cir. 2018)).... Read more

Tribal Immunity in IPR is Dealt a Death Blow by The Federal Circuit

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
July 26, 2018

The Federal Circuit issued its decision in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe et al v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al (18-1638) on July 20, 2018. The central question addressed in the Federal Circuit's decision was whether the principal of sovereign immunity can be asserted by a patent owner to avoid their patent being subjected to the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process. The decision hinged on whether the IPR process is more akin to the civil litigation-like proceedings in adjudications before the Federal Maritime Commission in which state sovereign immunity was held to apply (Fed. Maritime Comm'n v. S.C. State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 754–56 (2002) ("FMC") or whether IPR is a traditional agency action in which it has been previously held that sovereign immunity does not typically apply (see, for example, Pauma v. NLRB, 888 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2018); Karuk Tribe Hous. Auth., 260 F.3d at 1074; and Fed. Power Comm'n v. Tuscarora Indian Nation, 362 U.S. 99, 122 (1960)). It is important to note, however that there is no blanket rule that immunity does not apply in federal agency proceedings.... Read more

Sequenom v. Ariosa: The Saga Continues…

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
May 21, 2018

      Three years after a previous legal battle between Sequenom and Ariosa ended in a difficult loss for Sequenom (in what some commentators have characterized as a misapplication of the holding in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012)), Sequenom and its exclusive licensee Illumina have just this week filed a new patent infringement case against Ariosa Diagnostics, its parent Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. and sister company Roche Sequencing Solutions, Inc.,  in the US District Court for the Northern District of California San Francisco Division, for patents covering DNA testing in pregnant women. <... Read more

Is Sovereign Immunity Dead with Respect to PTAB Proceedings?

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
March 13, 2018

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding claims by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe ("Saint Regis") of sovereign immunity as a defense against inter partes review of certain patents owned by Saint Regis. The issue came about as a result of a deal made between Allergan and Saint Regis under which Allergan (the original owner of the six patents involved) paid Saint Regis $13.75 million to take ownerhip of the six patents for Allergan's Restasis drug, and license them back exclusively to Allergan, with the promise of ongoing royalties. When those six patents were challenged in an inter partes review at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Saint Regis asserted that the patents were shielded from such inter partes review by the theory of tribal sovereign immunity, by extension of a 2017 PTAB ruling that the University of Florida (as a state entity of the state of Florida) was immune to such IPR challenge by Covidien LP. In other decisions, the PTAB has reiterated that state sovereign immunity applies in IPR's.... Read more