Benitec Ltd. has announced that the lawsuit between Benitec and Nucleonics, Inc. previously pending in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has been dismissed without prejudice to future rights.
Benitec filed a motion to dismiss the suit in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Merck KGAA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd. in which the Court changed the nature and scope of the "safe harbour" exemption for drug development. In March 2004, Benitec sued Nucleonics for infringement of U.S. Pat. No.6,573,099.
However, once Benitec determined that the Supreme Court's ruling brought Nucleonics' drug development activities within the safe harbor exemption; it filed the motion to voluntarily dismiss on the grounds that no case or controversy existed. As stated in the Memorandum Opinion, "the Court concluded that Nucleonics has not demonstrated that it has produced or prepared to produce a product that would be the target of an infringement lawsuit by Benitec” and therefore "no actual controversy" exists, making dismissal of the case the most prudent course of action.
Sara Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of Benitec, stated, "We are pleased with the ruling in this case and look forward to focusing our attention, efforts, and resources toward developing RNAi therapeutics. With the recent settlement of the Promega contract dispute, the reinforcement of our patent estate in Australia following re-examination, and now the conclusion of this litigation, we can continue our drug development efforts without undue distraction."