Eli Lilly and Co. turned to Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner to stop numerous generic drug makers from muscling into the multibillion-dollar market for depression and diabetes-related pain drug Cymbalta.
Clients like Eli Lilly “look to us for important cases about maintaining their exclusivity,” said Dori Hines, who leads the litigation practice at the Washington-based firm. After a March 2011 final judgment against the named defendant in Eli Lilly and Co. v. Wockhardt Ltd., the other eight defendants in the Southern District of Indiana case settled the next month. Finnegan has “a deep bench in terms of all of the technical areas” covered by IP litigation, Hines said.
In another example, Finnegan helped high-tech manufacturer United Technologies Corp. in a multipronged litigation fight with Rolls-Royce Group PLC. Last June, an Eastern District of Virginia judge issued a noninfringement judgment for United Technologies. Finnegan leveraged that victory and its International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint against Rolls-Royce over an aircraft engine turbofan blade patent to reach a favorable settlement, Hines said. The settlement concluded United Technologies’ District of Connecticut and U.K. cases against Rolls-Royce. The ITC closed its investigation in August.
The nine-office firm of 371 lawyers, according to recent NLJ 250 numbers, is involved in a wide range of intellectual property work, managing partner Barbara McCurdy said. “We are very full service in the IP area,” McCurdy said.
Last year’s growth areas included work for HTC Corp. in the ongoing smartphone wars at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit practice and the ITC.
The firm is “very knowledgeable” about the Federal Circuit, thanks to the few dozen or so former law clerks from the court on the firm’s roster, said partner Donald Dunner, who is known for an extensive Federal Circuit caseload and was instrumental in creating the circuit.
Federal Circuit work “is a very important part of our practice,” Dunner said.
A key 2011 win last year for Finnegan client Uniloc USA Inc. came in January, when the Federal Circuit ruled that Microsoft infringed Uniloc’s patent on a software-registration system to deter copying of software. Although the appellate court found that Uniloc proved its case, it overturned the $388 million damages award and the commonly used damages theory that underpinned it. The parties settled but the ruling continues to reverberate. “It turns out to have been a very significant case,” Dunner said. “It had a big impact on damages jurisprudence.”
— Sheri Qualters