Federal Circuit Court Affirms ITC Ruling on Behalf of Global Bio-Chem Technology

March 9, 2010

Foley Hoag’s client Global Bio-Chem Technology (GBT) secured an important victory yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the patent litigation matter on appeal from the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The case began when Japanese chemical company Ajinomoto accused GBT, a Chinese manufacturer of amino acid products, of importing products that infringe two biotechnology patents. The asserted patents are directed to the use of genetically engineered Escherichia bacteria to produce lysine, an amino acid that is used as an animal feed additive.

In 2008, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the ITC issued an opinion finding that the asserted claims were invalid for failure to comply with the best mode requirement, and that both patents were unenforceable because the inventors had withheld their best mode from the Patent Office with intent to deceive. Ajinomoto appealed that decision to the full ITC, which largely affirmed the ALJ’s decision. Ajinomoto then appealed the ITC’s decision to the Federal Circuit.

In affirming the ITC’s decision, the Federal Circuit conclusively rejected Ajinomoto’s theories. The Court held that the asserted claims were invalid and that GBT had not violated Section 337. GBT is free to import its products into the United States. The decision marks the first time that a Chinese company convinced the ITC and the Federal Circuit that claims in a biotechnology patent were invalid. Li Weigang, Assistant General Manager of GBT, said, “We are pleased that our right to sell our lysine in the United States has been vindicated. We regard this as a very important ruling for the Chinese biotechnology industry.”

The Foley Hoag team was comprised of partners Claire Laporte, DeAnn Smith, and Barbara Fiacco, and associates Jeremy Younkin and Marco Quina. Foley Hoag teamed with ITC specialists Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP and East Associates, a Beijing law firm.

About GBT

GBT (www.globalbiochem.com) is listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and principally engaged in the manufacture and sales, research and development of corn based biochemical products in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). Its products are sold in the PRC and other countries in Asia, Europe, America and Africa. Headquartered in Hong Kong and with its production facilities based in Changchun and Dehui in Jilin Province and Jinzhou in Liaoning Province in the PRC, GBT is the largest vertically integrated corn based biochemical product manufacturer in Asia with an annual corn processing capacity of 2.4 million metric tonnes. GBT is also the largest lysine producer in the PRC and one of the major lysine producers in the world with an annual capacity of approximately 400,000 metric tonnes.

About Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP

Established more than twenty-five years ago in Washington, D.C., Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP (www.adduci.com) represents both domestic and international clients in international trade disputes before the U.S. International Trade Commission and other federal regulatory bodies and courts. The firm has pursued the interests of companies in the electronics, pharmaceutical, bio-technology and automotive industries. Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP is committed to providing excellence by listening to clients, offering realistic legal evaluations, developing strategies and implementing them in a cost efficient manner in the areas of international trade, customs and intellectual property litigation.

About East Associates

East Associates, a PRC law firm founded in 1993, has been selected as one of the top law firms in the Asia-Pacific region by Legal 500, and received the distinction of Outstanding Beijing Law Firm. It is one of the earliest law firms in China to establish a practice in U.S. Section 337 Investigations. For more information, please visit www.ealawfirm.com.

About Foley Hoag LLP

Foley Hoag provides innovative, strategic legal services to public, private and government clients across the globe. We have premier capabilities in the life sciences, healthcare, technology, energy, professional services and investment management fields, and in cross-border disputes. Our professionals  possess the skills  and experience to provide exceptional senior level service to clients ranging from startups to multinational companies to sovereign states. For more information, visit www.foleyhoag.com or follow @FoleyHoag on Twitter.