Patton Boggs LLP Guides Benitec to Victory in Biotech Patent Law Infringement Suit

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    McLean, VA – Patton Boggs LLP has prevailed on behalf of its client, Benitec, an Australia-based biotechnology company, in a high-profile patent infringement suit. On Friday, the Federal Circuit issued its decision in the Benitec v. Nucleonics appeal, affirming the District Court’s decision to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

    Initiated in 2004, the lawsuit alleged that rival biotechnology company Nucleonics Inc. was infringing on Benitec’s patent for the iRNA gene-silencing treatment. This gene regulation treatment had been developed largely by Benitec and has provided promising results treating diseases such as HIV, cancer, hepatitis B and C, and autoimmune and central nervous system disorders.

    Benitec had originally sought dismissal after the Supreme Court’s Integra v. Merck decision rendered further litigation on the issues in the case irrelevant. Nucleonics opposed the dismissal, arguing that a case and controversy remained. Nucleonics lost at the District Court and appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

    After the Supreme Court expanded declaratory judgment jurisdiction in MedImmune v. Genentech, the Federal Circuit requested supplemental briefing to determine if the expanded jurisdiction conferred the necessary case and controversy requirements to continue the Benitec v. Nucleonics litigation. The Federal Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, ultimately determined the position advanced by Patton Boggs for Nucleonics was correct, affirming the District Court’s decision.

    “When the Integra v. Merck decision was handed down, it was clear that additional litigation in this case would not serve the client’s purposes and that dismissal was appropriate. We are happy the Federal Circuit agreed, permitting the client to use its resources in research, not litigation,” noted Dr. Scott A. Chambers, Chair of Patton Boggs’ Intellectual Property Department who led the firm’s efforts in this matter.

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