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Settlement reached in trade secrets case

Texans who own intellectual property might be interested in learning about a settlement that was reached by two biotech firms in litigation involving allegations of the misappropriation of trade secrets and engaging in unfair business practices. The settlement resolves a lawsuit that was filed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. against Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a countersuit that was filed by Dicerna.

Both companies are working to develop medications that use RNA interference technology, which can silence certain genes. It is thought that this technology may help people with a variety of different genetic conditions. The lawsuit and countersuit concerned the acquisition of a delivery technology that was owned by a subsidiary of Merck. Both Alynylam and Dicerna had submitted bids to Merck, but Alynlam outbid Dicerna and won the right to use the technology.

In 2015, Alynlam filed a lawsuit against Dicerna, alleging that the company had stolen the delivery system. Dicerna filed a countersuit against Alynlam that alleged unfair business practices. In the settlement, Dicerna agreed to pay $15 million to Alynlam and to give the larger company some stock. Both companies are continuing their work in developing the new medications.

A theft of trade secrets can lead to substantial losses for the companies from which they are taken. Businesses often aggressively litigate cases against companies that steal their trade secrets. In some cases, it is possible to negotiate settlements so that the victims of the theft may be made whole. In others, attorneys may litigate the issues for their clients through the court process. Companies that believe that their trade secrets have been stolen by their competitors might want to consult with experienced legal counsel.

Source: Boston Globe, "Two Cambridge biotechs settle dispute over alleged theft of trade secrets", Jonathan Saltzman, April 20, 2018

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