NEW YORK, December 21, 2004 – LAWFUEL – First for law news – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP announced today that it won a complete defense verdict for clients Dow AgroSciences LLC, and its affiliates Mycogen Plant Science, Inc. and Agrigenetics Inc., d/b/a Mycogen Seeds, in a high-stakes patent infringement law suit brought by Syngenta Seeds, Inc. in U.S. District Court in Delaware.
On the day before closing argument of the two-week trial, Chief Judge Sue Robinson held two Syngenta patents not infringed as a matter of law, leaving only one patent for the jury to consider. After two days of deliberations, the jury invalidated all asserted claims of the one remaining patent on multiple grounds.
“This is a great result brought about by the efforts of a superb trial team,” said Daniel Thomasch, a partner in Orrick’s New York office and managing partner of litigation for the firm, who was lead trial counsel for Dow AgroSciences. “It is gratifying to have contributed to such an important win for our clients.”
The patents in suit related to modified Bt genes and Bt corn plants and seed, which have been genetically modified to resist insect pests such as the European corn borer, an insect that causes significant damage to the U.S. corn crop each year. Bt corn accounts for 25% of the corn market. The accused products included Dow AgroSciences’s Herculex (TM) 1 insect protection corn seed and YieldGard (TM) Bt corn seed, a product developed by Monsanto. Syngenta Seeds had alleged that Dow AgroSciences, Mycogen Seeds, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and DeKalb Genetics Corporation were infringing three of its Bt corn-related patents.
Mr. Thomasch was assisted at trial by New York IP partner Robert Isackson and Silicon Valley IP partners Craig Kaufman and Elizabeth Howard, as well as New York IP associate Alex Chachkes.
Orrick’s Second Major IP Win in Less Than a Month
The Syngenta case marks Orrick’s second major patent litigation victory in less than a month. On November 30, Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California in Oakland issued an order that effectively terminated a patent infringement law suit brought by Korean electronics giant LG Electronics (LGE) against Orrick client Compal Electronics, a Taiwan-based company and one of the largest original equipment computer manufacturers in the world.
LGE sued Compal in April 2001, claiming that Compal had infringed six patents relating to notebook computers and seeking more than $250 million in damages from Compal as well as an injunction to bring the company’s business to a halt. Two patents were dismissed at an early stage of the trial by Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California in Oakland. In her November 30 decision, Judge Wilken granted Orrick’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement as to three of the four remaining patents and ruled that LGE was barred from asserting the last remaining patent based on a license that protected Compal from LGE’s claims.
About Orrick’s Litigation Division
Orrick is highly regarded for trying and winning cases. The firm’s 270-lawyer litigation team handles the largest and most complex disputes in general litigation, securities litigation, IP, white collar criminal defense, and employment matters. Clients trust Orrick to manage massive, high-risk litigation and to advise them in matters ranging from pre-litigation strategies to the decision of when and how to try cases. In the last six weeks alone, Orrick has won complete defense verdicts in four major cases on behalf of companies in the biotech, metals, computer electronics and chemical industries.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is an international law firm with approximately 700 lawyers in North America, Europe, and Asia. The firm focuses on litigation, complex and novel finance, and innovative corporate transactions. Orrick clients include Fortune 100 companies, major industrial and financial corporations, commercial and investment banks, high-growth companies, governmental entities, start-ups, and individuals. The firm’s 13 offices are located in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, Pacific Northwest, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, and Tokyo.