BAYER SANCTIONED FOR SUBSIDIARY’S MISCONDUCT
In a 17-year-old patent case, a North Carolina federal judge has awarded two Dow Chemical Co. affiliates $5.3 million in attorney fees and costs for inequitable conduct by a Bayer A.G. subsidiary.
U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. on September 28 granted the defendants’ motion for fees and costs. The dispute involved insect-resistant crop patents.
Osteen based his ruling on a finding of inequitable conduct, essentially fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in a related case: “This case marked Plaintiff’s first attempt to enforce rights under a patent obtained by inequitable conduct. This court sees no justification for departing from the reasoned analysis utilized by other courts to grant an award of attorneys’ fees in related litigation.”
INDYMAC CHIEF EXECUTIVE SETTLES FRAUD SUIT FOR $80,000
WASHINGTON — With once-broad allegations stripped away in a series of pretrial rulings, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to settle its fraud suit against the former chief executive officer of failed thrift IndyMac Bank for $80,000.
The SEC in 2009 alleged that Michael Perry misled investors by issuing false statements about the health of the mortgage lender, which failed in 2008. But in recent months, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real in Los Angeles dismissed all charges but one on summary judgment.
Perry agreed to settle a single negligence-based claim without acknowledging any wrongdoing and to obey securities laws in the future.
SETBACK IN SEARCH FOR FBI’S RACIAL ‘MAPPING’ DOCUMENTS
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge has turned back the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for information about the FBI’s allegedly unconstitutional use of racial and ethnic “mapping” under the pretext of protecting national security.
U.S. District Judge Esther Salas ruled on October 1 that the bureau conducted adequate records searches and satisfactorily explained its decisions to withhold some of the documents. “The fact that other documents possibly responsive to the request exist but were not uncovered by an agency’s search is immaterial to the adequacy of that search,” she wrote.
The ACLU made a Freedom of Information Act request in 2010 seeking documents related to “use of race and ethnicity to conduct assessments and investigations in local communities in New Jersey.” In particular, the ACLU sought information gleaned by use of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, which allows agents to collect, analyze and map ethnic data.
ARRESTS DURING 2004 GOP CONVENTION UNCONSTITUTIONAL
NEW YORK — Protesters challenging the New York City Police Department’s mass arrests during the 2004 Republican National Convention won summary judgment on October 1 on the unconstitutionality of police arrests during a march.
But in a case in which the city argued the concept of “mass probable cause,” U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan declined to grant summary judgment to either side in another mass arrest elsewhere later that same day.
Sullivan concluded that protesters at the first site were given contradictory instructions and were not allowed to disperse before police arrested 227 people. However, he said, open questions of fact remained as to whether police properly culled those violating the law at the second site from innocent bystanders.
RECORD PENALTY FOR ABBOTT IN DEPAKOTE MISLABELING
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Virginia on October 1 hit Abbott Laboratories with the second-largest criminal fine involving a single drug.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson ordered Abbott to pay $500 million, forfeit $198.5 million and pay $1.5 million to the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for marketing the drug Depakote for uses not approved as safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Depakote was being promoted to control behavioral disturbances in dementia patients and to treat schizophrenia. According to a Justice Department press release, these uses were never approved by the FDA. The fines were connected with Abbott’s guilty plea to a criminal misdemeanor charge for misbranding in May.
JUDGE BARS ENFORCEMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA VOTER ID LAW
PHILADELPHIA — Voters won’t have to show photo ID before casting a ballot in November, a state appellate judge ruled on October 2, blocking that requirement in Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law from taking effect in November.
On remand from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson echoed the high court’s language, writing: “I am not still convinced in my predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for the purposes of the upcoming election.”
He issued a narrow injunction at the deadline he was given by the Supreme Court, which could yet review for a second time the nationally watched case before the November 6 general election.
GROUPS LACK STANDING TO PROTECT SITE OF UNION BATTLE
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Environmental groups who sued to prevent mining on Blair Mountain have no standing to bring the challenge, a federal judge in Washington ruled on October 2.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and other groups, who challenged the removal of the Blair Mountain Battlefield from the National Register of Historic Places. The groups claimed they would be harmed if the battlefield were mined because they would be unable to enjoy it as a historical resource.
In 1921, some 10,000 coal miners who had been trying to unionize for years marched to Blair and faced down a dug-in army of police and hired guns armed with homemade bombs and machine guns. At least 16 men died.
JUDGE DISSOLVES INJUNCTION AGAINST SAMSUNG’S TABLET
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite a jury verdict that was almost entirely in favor of Apple, a federal judge has dissolved a preliminary injunction blocking importation and U.S. sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer.
The verdict in favor of Samsung Electronics Co. on one question relating to infringement of Apple Inc.’s iPad eliminated the “sole basis” for the June 26 injunction, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled on October 1. But she indicated she would likely review the question again, along with other post-trial motions.
Following a five-week trial that ended in August, the San Jose, Calif., jury determined that Samsung’s tablet did not infringe on a patent covering the physical design of Apple’s iPad — the basis for the injunction Koh imposed leading up to the trial.
JUDGE INVALIDATES PATENT ON HOFFMANN OSTEOPOROSIS DRUG
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge on October 1 declared invalid the patent for the osteoporosis drug Boniva, held by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.
An invention can be patented only if its subject matter is not obvious, and U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler found that patent No. 7,410,957 failed that test.
Before the patent was obtained, it was already known that ibandronate, the generic name for Boniva, like other bisphosphonate drugs, could help prevent bone fractures by preserving bone density, Chesler found.
EX-CROWELL ASSOCIATE ADMITS EMBEZZLING FROM CLIENTS
NEW YORK — A former Crowell & Moring associate who fled to Hong Kong to avoid arrest and had to be extradited has admitted embezzling $10.7 million from clients.
Douglas Arntsen pleaded guilty on October 2 before Acting New York County, N.Y., Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser in connection to the theft over a two-year period from an investment fund and a real estate management company he advised.
In exchange for a sentence of four to 12 years, Arntsen pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He also agreed to pay a restitution order for the money, which he used to make loans and investments, but also on sporting events and strip clubs and to buy businesses.