United States ex rel. Promega Corp. v. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. et al.
Our attorneys represented Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.'s and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., in a qui tam case brought by a competitor, Promega Corporation, and two of its officers, who alleged that a patent had been obtained by inequitable conduct on the Patent Office. Roche, as a subsequent assignee of the patent, was alleged to have violated the False Claims Act when it sold products, or licensed technology, covered by the patent to the US government. The qui tam relators sought over US$6 billion in penalties damages from the defendants.
On August 20, 2004, the Eastern District of Virginia granted Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.'s motion to dismiss. Roche moved to dismiss the complaint on numerous grounds, including that the complaint failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted, that the complaint failed to comply with the necessary specificity required under Rule 9(b), and that the relators were not original sources of the allegations as required by the False Claims Act. While the US government did not intervene in the case, it did file a statement of interest arguing that the relators had stated a valid claim under the False Claims Act. The court found that Promega did not state a valid claim under the False Claims Act, that the complaint was too vague to satisfy Rule 9(b), and that the relators were not original sources.