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Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Medinter US LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 25, 2019

GALDERMA LABORATIORES, L.P. and GALDERMA S.A., Plaintiffs,
v.
MEDINTER US, LLC, MEDINTER LTD., ANTECO PHARMA, LLC, ATTWIL VASCULAR TECHNOLOGIES LP, ATTWILL MEDICAL SOLUTIONS, INC., DERMAVANCE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. and MEDGRAFT MICROTECH, INC., Defendants.

          Stephen B. Brauerman, BAYARD, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Richard L. Bolton, BOARDMAN & CLARK, LLP, Madison, WI, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

          Jack B. Blumenfeld and Michael J. Flynn, MORRIS, NICHOLS, ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE; Joseph A. Mahoney, MAYER BROWN LLP, Charlotte, NC; and B. Clayton McCraw and Ying-Zi Yang, MAYER BROWN LLP, New York, NY, Attorneys for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BURKE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         In this patent infringement action filed by Plaintiffs Galderma Laboratories, L.P. and Galderma, S.A. (collectively "Galderma" or "Plaintiffs") against Defendants Medinter U.S. LLC, Medinter Ltd. (collectively "Medinter"), Anteco Pharma LLC ("Anteco"), Attwill Medical Solutions, Inc. and Attwill Vascular Technologies LP (collectively "Attwill"), DermAvance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("DermAvance") and Medgraft Microtech, Inc. ("Medgraft"), presently before the Court is Defendant Anteco's renewed motion to dismiss for improper venue, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) ("Motion"). (D.I. 36) For the reasons that follow, the Court orders that this Motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         Plaintiffs filed their initial Complaint on November 29, 2018 against six of the seven current Defendants, including Anteco, alleging infringement of the patents-in-suit. (D.I. 1) On February 22, 2019, Anteco filed a motion to dismiss the claims against it for improper venue. (D.I. 26)

         Thereafter, on March 5, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the operative First Amended Complaint ("FAC") against all seven current Defendants. (D.I. 33) Anteco then renewed its motion to dismiss for improper venue by filing the instant Motion on March 18, 2019. (D.I. 36) Briefing on the Motion was completed on May 3, 2019. (D.I. 69)

         On July 30, 2019, United States District Judge Colm F. Connolly referred this case to the Court to hear and resolve all pretrial matters, up to and including expert discovery matters. (D.I. 78) Then on September 13, 2019, all parties in the case consented to the Court's jurisdiction to resolve the instant Motion, as well as two other motions that remain pending. (D.I. 85)

         B. Factual Background

         Plaintiff Galderma Laboratories, L.P. is a Texas limited partnership with a principal place of business in Fort Worth, Texas. (D.I. 33 at ¶ 2) Plaintiff Galderma S.A. is a Swiss company with its principal place of business in Switzerland. (Id. at ¶ 3) Galderma S.A. is the current assignee of the patents-in-suit, which bear on dermatology-related injectable formulas: United States Patent Nos. 6, 716, 251 and 7, 731, 758 (collectively, the "patents-in-suit"). (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 30) Galderma Laboratories, L.P. is the exclusive licensee of the patents-in-suit in the United States. (W.at¶¶29, 34)

         Defendant Attwill Vascular Technologies LP is a limited partnership organized under the laws of Delaware, and has its principal place of business in Wisconsin. (Id. at ¶¶ 7, 19-20) Defendant Attwill Medical Solutions, Inc., which is described in the FAC as a "division of Attwill Vascular Technologies LP, is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Wisconsin. (Id. at ¶¶ 8, 19-20) Defendant Anteco is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of Wisconsin; it too has its principal place of business in Wisconsin. (Id. at ¶ 6)

         In the FAC, Plaintiffs allege infringement of the patents-in-suit, in that they allege that all Defendants manufacture, use, offer for sale and sell in the United States DERMA VEIL CUTANEOUS BIO-STIMULANT ("DERMA VEIL" or the "accused product"), and that Defendants export from the United States that product. (See generally D.I. 33) With regard to the roles that each Defendant (other than Anteco) is alleged to have played in the infringement, Plaintiffs more specifically allege that: (1) Medgraft formed an alliance with one or both of the Medinter entities to offer for sale and sell DERMA VEIL made in the U.S. to buyers in foreign countries, and that Medgraft licenses to one or both of the Medinter entities the right to manufacture and distribute DERMA VEIL worldwide; (2) Medinter manufactures DERMA VEIL out of its U.S.-based facilities in Houston, Texas; (3) Attwill Medical Solutions, Inc. also "manufactures some or all of the DERMA VEIL product, and benefits financially by selling and/or otherwise providing the same to Medinter Ltd."; (4) Attwill Vascular Technologies LP directs and controls Attwill Medical Solutions, Inc.; and (5) DermAvance formed an alliance with one or both of the Medinter entities, including through licensing and distribution agreements and through efforts to help obtain approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration for DERMA VEIL, and it encouraged Medinter to manufacture more DERMA VEIL for sale in the U.S. and in foreign countries. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-22)

         Regarding Anteco's role and structure, Plaintiffs allege in the FAC that on November 16, 2017, Attwill Vascular Technologies LP "acquired" Anteco. (Id. at ¶ 18) They assert that as a result of this, Anteco and Attwill Medical Solutions, Inc. thereafter "operate[] as an integrated, unitary business[.]" (Id.) Plaintiffs additionally allege the following facts in support of this statement:

• Both Attwill entities currently operate at the same business address at 925 Development Drive in Lodi, Wisconsin. (Id.) Anteco formerly shared that same business address as well, and did so up through at least August 2018. (Id.; D.I. 64, ex. 5) Today, Anteco's registered business address is a residential address in Waunakee, Wisconsin; it appears that Anteco may have made this address change on or around March 11, 2019. (D.I. 64, ex. 3) This Waunakee address is the home address of Howard Teeter, Anteco's former Managing Partner. (D.I. 64, ex. 1 at 1; id., ex. 3)
• As of at least April 2019, when one typed in the website address for Anteco (represented by Plaintiffs to be www.antecopharma.com), one was directed to Attwill's website (www.attwillmedi ...

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