Merial, Ltd. v. Cipla, Ltd., No. 11-1471 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The patents involve topical compositions for protecting pets from fleas and ticks. The 940 patent, now expired, claimed fipronil for pest control by direct toxicity. Merial, as exclusive licensee, developed compositions sold as Frontline. Merial also devised compositions, covered by the 329 patent, combining fipronil with an insect growth regulator, sold as Frontline Plus, the leading flea and tick treatment. In 2007 Merial sued Cipla and other internet retailers, alleging infringement. No defendant responded. The district court found that the patents were not invalid, that Cipla had infringed each patent, and entered a permanent injunction barring Cipla from directly or indirectly infringing the patents. In 2008 Cipla filed an informal communication, not intended to constitute an appearance, denying infringing or having any presence in the U.S., and requesting dismissal. The district court entered final judgment. Velcera, led by former Merial executives, engaged with Cipla to develop, test, manufacture, and distribute products to compete with Merial. Both Velcera and Cipla entered into development and supply agreements with various companies. In 2011, they began selling PetArmor Plus. The district court held Velcera and Cipla in contempt. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to jurisdiction and to the contempt order’s application to Velcera.