Laboratory Corporation of America v. Chiron

Laboratory Corporation of America v. Chiron (Fed. Cir. 2004) (03-1572).

Chiron developed a method of nucleic acid testing for Hepatitis-C virus in the human blood.  (U.S. Patent 5,712,088).  LabCorp supplies nucleic acid testing products for testing the presence and quantity of Hep-C virus and performs tests at its North Carolina facility. 

Chiron sued LabCorp in California for infringement only hours after LabCorp filed a declaratory judgment suit against Chiron in Delaware.  During the course of litigation, the Delaware District Court granted LabCorp’s motion to enjoin Chiron from prosecuting parallel litigation that was co-pending in the Northern District of California.  Chiron appealed the decision. At issue was whether to apply Federal Circuit or Third Circuit law:

In this case, the decision whether to follow Federal Circuit or Third Circuit law is critical: as we have previously observed, the Third Circuit has held that injunctions against litigation in other forums are not appealable, while under Federal Circuit law such injunctions are appealable under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1292(a)(1). Thus, we must decide which law applies.

Citing the importance of national uniformity in patent cases, the appellate panel held that injunctions arbitrating between co-pending patent declaratory judgment and infringement cases in different district courts are reviewed under the law of the Federal Circuit.

On review of the actual order to enjoin, the panel determined that the district court had not abused its discretion in enjoining the parallel California action.