Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Star loses to Reynolds on inequitable conduct

Forbes noted:

The court ruled that Star engaged in inequitable conduct before the US Patent Office in obtaining patents involving a method of treating tobacco to substantially prevent the formation of tobacco-specific nitrosamines.

'The judge ruled in our favour on virtually every pending issue,' said August Borschke, chief patent counsel for R.J. Reynolds. 'Today's ruling validates what R.J. Reynolds proved at trial: that Star's patents are unenforceable.'

See previous IPBiz post:

See also post on PatentHawk about details of the inequitable conduct, which begins:

Star Scientific sued tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds in May 2001 for infringing its tobacco curing patents. R.J. Reynolds fought back, winning invalidity by indefiniteness in January for 6,202,649 and 6,425,401, and now egregious inequitable conduct for 6,805,134. Law firms participated in a cover-up.

The patenthawk post includes mention of the (initial) patent attorney for Star: Patent counsel (Delmendo) and Williams were aware from the Burton Letter that Burton had obtained cigarettes in China that had low or non-existent levels of TSNA.

Of Professor Burton, patenthawk noted:

To cover all bases, Star bought Burton.

Star funded a chair at the University of Kentucky in Burton’s name, paid him a retainer more than his annual salary regardless of any work product produced, and gave Burton hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock options.

**ALSO, from CNN on June 25:

Star Scientific Inc.'s (STSI) board cleared the separation of its core businesses, tobacco manufacturing and intellectual property and new-product development operations, with the goal of positioning the company to consider spinning off to shareholders its Star Tobacco Inc. business.

The Petersburg, Va., company Monday said it recently incorporated a new subsidiary in Delaware which will develop tobacco-based pharmaceutical products, including products for the treatment of smokeless tobacco dependence, as well as products that would use certain monoamine oxidase agents in tobacco to treat neurological conditions.


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