Our first runner-up this week is John Desmarais, the founding partner of Desmarais LLP, who last week landed a $272.5 million patent infringement verdict for client Ravgen against medical testing giant Labcorp related to non-invasive prenatal genetic testing technology. That tally, which is what Desmarais asked the Waco, Texas, jury for in his closing argument, amounts to a royalty rate of $100 per test for the 2.7 million tests Labcorp sold that use mother’s blood to detect conditions such as Down syndrome as early as nine into pregnancy. “The world before this patent was very inhospitable to mothers and prenatal care,” Desmarais said during closing. “You had three choices: You stick a big needle in your belly and do amniocentesis, almost hit the baby, cause a miscarriage; you get your placenta biopsied, possibly causing a miscarriage; or you get serum screening, which often gave you false positives. Think about that. There’s no dispute about that. That was the world before this invention.” The jury also found that Labcorp willfully infringed. The trial team also included firm partner Kerri-Ann Limbeek, and associates Benjamin Luehrs, Kyle Petrie, Joze Welsh, Jun Tong and Deborah Mariottini.
You might remember antitrust litigators at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Latham & Watkins picked up LOTW honors earlier this month by beating back the Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to Illumina’s $8 billion acquisition of cancer blood-test developer GRAIL, with Cravath representing the acquirer and Latham the target. This past week, the roles were reversed, with Latham representing acquirer U.S. Sugar and Cravath representing target Imperial Sugar as the firms once again beat back yet another antitrust challenge—this time brought by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division—challenging the $315 million sugar tie-up announced in November. After a four-day bench trial in April, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Delaware last week found that the government failed to establish both a relevant product and geographic market. “In the end, the court finds it more than curious that the government is purportedly concerned about anticompetitive harm and increased prices in an industry where the government itself keeps the prices high and, in many ways, controls the competition,” the judge wrote. The Latham team representing U.S. Sugar included partners Lawrence Buterman, Christopher Yates, Amanda Reeves, Jennifer Giordano, Lindsey Champlin and Kelly Fayne, counsel Elyse Greenwald, and associates Molly Barron, David Johnson, Chris Brown, Matthew Piehl, Jesse Vella, Graham Haviland, Leah Wisser, Christine Greeley and Saffa Khan. The Cravath team representing Imperial Sugar was led by partners Christine Varney, Timothy Cameron, Daniel Zach, Peter Barbur and David Marriott.