IBJNews

Roche hit with new breed of patent suit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Roche Diagnostics Corp. has been hit with a new kind of patent lawsuit that attorneys are calling “the latest menace to business.”

Roche Diagnostics, a Swiss company that keeps its U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis, has been sued for marking its Accu-Chek blood glucose monitors and accessories with patents that are expired. Illinois resident David O’Neill has sued on behalf of the U.S. government to recover damages of $500 per infraction.

Since Roche sells millions of monitors and test strips—a kit of both ranges from about $15 to $30 a pop—a penalty of $500 each could be huge. If O'Neill recovers any damages from Roche, he would split them with the federal government.

Roche’s total U.S. revenue from diabetes monitors was about $670 million last year, according to San Francisco-based Close Concerns, a diabetes market research firm based in San Francisco.

“Roche is a sophisticated company and has many decades of experience applying for, obtaining and litigating patents," O’Neill’s attorneys allege in the lawsuit, adding, "Roche knows, or reasonably should know, of the requirements of [the law.]”

O’Neill’s lawsuit against Roche is one of several “qui tam” lawsuits he has filed this year against companies for marking their products with expired patents. In fact, 50 similar lawsuits were filed against companies during the first three months of the year, according to a National Law Review article written by attorneys at Chicago-based law firm Vedder Price P.C.

These suits began after a federal circuit court decision on Dec. 29, which said improper patent marking on products could be punished not as one continuous act, for a maximum penalty of $500, but for each instance, with every instance carrying a maximum fine of $500.

“This is the perfect storm for the marking trolls [such as David O’Neill],” wrote the Vedder Price attorneys, “since their end game is a quick, large settlement, not protracted litigation. Either way, the patent owner could be on the hook for a considerable sum.”

O’Neill’s case against Roche Diagnostics was filed in Feburary in federal court in Illinois, but in late July was moved, at Roche’s request, to federal court in Indianapolis.

Calls to O’Neill’s attorneys, who are based in Chicago, were not returned.

Roche Diagnostics spokesman Mike Weist said the company regards the lawsuit as “without merit.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

ADVERTISEMENT