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15 February 2017Americas

Korean university takes on Merck subsidiary in patent suit

Chosun University in Korea has taken on EMD Millipore, a life sciences subsidiary of Merck, in a patent infringement claim centring on derivatives of thiazolidinedione.

Filed at the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Monday, February 13, the claim concerns US patent number 8,637,558, called “Thiazolidinedione derivative and use thereof”.

According to the patent’s abstract, the derivative can be used to prevent or treat cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal diseases.

Chosun alleged that Millipore has infringed the patent by making and selling a thiazolidinedione derivative, 15-PGDH inhibitor 100073-10MG.

It added that the vial in which the product is shipped states “For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures”, but that some of the “research” uses are outside the scope of the 35 USC section 271(e)(1) research exemption.

The research exemption allows the use or importation of a patented invention solely for uses “reasonably related to the development and submission of information” without the risk of infringement.

According to Chosun, because Millipore’s activities do not fall within the exception and it did not have authority or a licence from Chosun, Millipore has infringed the patent.

Chosun has asked for injunctive relief, damages, attorneys’ fees and a jury trial.

Adam Samansky, member of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo and representative of the university, said: “Chosun University and its researchers invested heavily in the development of the promising thiazolidinedione derivatives claimed in ‘558.”

He added that the university is “vigorously protecting” its IP rights internationally, including in the US.

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