Abbott Labs. V. Church & Dwight, Inc., No. 07 C 3428, 2007 WL 3120007 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 23, 2007) (Kennelly, J.).
Judge Kennelly denied defendant Church & Dwight’s (“C&D”) 28 U.S.C. Section 1404(a) motion to transfer this patent case to the District of New Jersey, where a related case between the parties was pending, and granted C&D’s motion to dismiss a claim that the New Jersey Court previously dismissed for lack of standing. In New Jersey, C&D sued plaintiff Abbott Laboratories (“Abbott”) alleging infringement of patents covering lateral flow immunology devices, and pregnancy and ovulation testing methods. Abbott counterclaimed alleging infringement of three patents, including U.S. Patent No. 6,534,320 (the “’320 patent”). The New Jersey Court ultimately dismissed Abbott’s counterclaim, holding that Abbott was a nonexclusive licensee of the ‘320 patent and, therefore, lacked standing. The New Jersey Court also held that standing could not be cured by Abbott’s effort to involuntarily join its licensor Inverness pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 19. Based upon the New Jersey Court’s ruling, this Court held that issue preclusion prevented Abbott from re-litigating its standing to sue. Unless Abbott revised its license agreement with Inverness, giving Abbott additional rights, the New Jersey Court’s ruling was preclusive. The Court, therefore, dismissed Abbott’s ‘320 patent infringement claim.
The Court denied C&D’s motion to transfer the case to New Jersey. The Court gave Abbott’s choice of forum deference. And the Court gave little weight to the parties’ ongoing New Jersey patent suit because the New Jersey Court dismissed Abbott’s counterclaims before making any substantive rulings. The New Jersey Court, therefore, would not have been in a better position to decide any issues in the case.