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Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, LTD

United States Supreme Court
545 U.S. 193, 74 U.S.P.Q.2d 1801 (2005)


Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., and the Burnham Institute (collectively “Integra”) (plaintiff) held five patents related to the tripeptide sequence (Arg-Gly-Asp) known as the “RGD peptide,” which promoted cell adhesion. Merck KGaA (“Merck”) (defendant) provided funding to Dr. David Cheresh to conduct research at the Scripps Research Institute related to angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels sprout from existing vessels involved in many diseases. Cheresh successfully used RGD peptides provided by Merck in advancing the research. Integra filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California alleging patent infringement and inducement to infringe. Merck responded that it did not infringe Integra’s patents because it had used them in the course of research which was a covered exemption under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1). A jury found that Merck infringed Integra’s patents and awarded damages. On appeal, a divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment that Merck was not covered by the § 271(e)(1) exemption, and reversed on other issues. Merck’s petition for writ of certiorari was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

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