Star Scientific Tobacco Curing Patent Update

Scott Daniels | March 14, 2011

This past Thursday the PTO issued Notices of Intent to Issue Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate (here, here) for Star Scientific’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,202,649 and 6,425,401 claiming processes for curing tobacco so as to avoid the formation of harmful nitrosamines.  The ‘649 and ‘401 are the subject of a prolonged infringement battle between Star Scientific and RJ Reynolds Tobacco, which is now on its second trip to the CAFC.  The reexamination certificates themselves are likely to issue sometime in June.

Although only three claims of the ‘649 patent and one claim of the ‘401 patent were under reexamination, they presumably the key claims in Star Scientific’s infringement allegations against Reynolds.

The confirmation of the claims is noteworthy for reexamination practitioners because Star succeeded, in large part, because of its submission of an expert declaration that convinced that the examiner that a prior art reference did not inherently disclose a key limitation recited in Star’s claims.

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