The Firms

March 25, 2010 12:29 PM

Ropes & Gray Moves to Dismiss Malpractice Suit

Posted by Brian Baxter

Ropes & Gray filed a motion on Tuesday seeking to dismiss a civil suit filed in federal court in February by Long Island-based Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, accusing the firm and former partner Matthew Vincent of malpractice, reports the New York Law Journal, a sibling publication.

Claiming it lost millions in potential licensing and royalty revenues, Cold Spring alleges that Vincent plagiarized lengthy passages from a rival researcher's patent application for use in another patent application for Cold Spring that was ultimately unsuccessful, the NYLJ reports. The patent would have allowed Cold Spring researchers to selectively turn off genes. The company is seeking between $37.5 million and $82.5 million in damages, plus punitive damages.

Ropes & Gray argues that copying text from other patents is a perfectly ethical and legal practice.

Cold Spring is the former home of legendary gene researcher James Watson, a codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA. The lab now is being advised on IP matters by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Chad Ziegler of Garden City, N.Y.-based IP boutique Scully Scott Murphy & Presser is representing the company in its suit against Ropes & Gray.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler senior litigation partner and law firm defense chair Philip Forlenza is representing Ropes & Gray on the matter.

Vincent, who was based in Boston, was fired by the firm last year. He resigned from the Massachusetts Bar last July and is being represented by Robert Muldoon, Jr., cochair of the professional liability group at Boston's Sherin and Lodgen.

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