A team in the Intellectual Property Department of Edwards Wildman, appeared before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in February 2012 to argue that it should affirm a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the firm’s client, Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”), in a patent-inventorship dispute. On March 28, 2013, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Massachusetts District Court’s ruling that two independent researchers who had no connection to MGH were not entitled to have their names added as inventors on two MGH patents.
The patents cover MGH’s discovery of the genetic mutations that cause familial dysautonomia, a rare birth defect also known as the Riley-Day syndrome. The researchers filed their lawsuit in January 2009 and, following extensive motion practice (that systematically dismantled the plaintiffs’ case) and a discovery phase that included nineteen depositions and the exchange of a significant number of documents, we moved for summary judgment in March 2011. Judge Denise Casper granted summary judgment in April 2011, and the plaintiffs subsequently appealed. Federal Circuit judges Newman, Bryson, and Fogel (sitting by designation) agreed with the lower court’s analysis and affirmed its decision in favor of MGH.
Boston partner Ralph Loren provided significant assistance with the appeal.