Federal Circuit Remands Case To Determine Israeli Contract Law.

Israel Bio-Engineering Project v. Amgen et al. (Fed. Cir. 2005).

In a dispute over a patented tumor necrosis factor inhibitory protein, the Federal Circuit remanded to determine which party can claim ownership of an employee’s work under Israeli law.

In addition, the Appellate Panel determined that the lower court had improperly denied one party leave to intervene as a defendant. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) parties must be permitted to intervene in an action:

when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant’s ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant’s interest is adequately represented by existing parties.

In this case, the District Court found that the intervenor’s interests were properly represented by Yeda.  The Federal Circuit disagreed, finding two instances where the interests of the two parties diverge: (1) Because laches is a personal defense, it cannot be raised by Yeda on behalf of another party and (2) the intervenor claimed to have a right to purchase the rights to project discoveries at no cost — Yeda did not have such a right.  As such, the CAFC reversed — allowing Serono to intervene.