Star Scientific Patent Claims Confirmed in Patent Reexamination
Mar 11, 2011, 01:39 ET
GLEN ALLEN, Va., March 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Star Scientific, Inc. (Nasdaq: CIGX) announced that its patent counsel, Banner & Witcoff, has received two notices and letters from the United States Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) confirming the validity of each of the claims involved in the reexamination of the '649 and '401 patents. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, Inc. (RJR) filed requests for reexamination of these patents with the PTO in January, 2009. The notices confirmed patentability of all claims involved in the reexaminations, rejecting each of the prior art challenges raised by the requester. The USPTO made other specific findings, including a determination that the claims are entitled to the earlier filing date of its provisional patent applications. The issuance of these decisions terminates the reexamination process, and since the requests were filed on an "ex parte" basis, they cannot be appealed by RJR.
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The '649 and '401 patents, which issued in 2001 and 2002, cover the tobacco-leaf curing process in a manner that largely prevents bacterial activity in the tobacco leaf. That activity results in the formation of tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), a group of carcinogens that have been identified for decades by researchers worldwide as one of the most lethal and abundant toxins in tobacco leaf and smoke. The StarCured® process, as described in the 649 and 401 patents, results in tobacco leaf with TSNA levels that Star believes are the lowest found anywhere in the world. The company more recently filed a patent application, in December 2008, for a further innovated curing process that results in TSNA levels in the tobacco leaf are below levels of detection by conventional standards of measure.
Jonnie R. Williams, the inventor of the StarCured® process and Star's CEO, stated, "The notices from the Patent & Trademark Office are enormously gratifying to all of us at Star Scientific. We have believed from the beginning in what the StarCured® process achieves, and in its potential to significantly reduce tobacco users' exposure to tobacco toxins. "
These patents are at the center of patent infringement lawsuits filed by Star Scientific against RJR in 2001 and 2002. The company currently awaits a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals on its appeal of the June, 2009 jury verdict in favor of RJR. Oral argument on the appeal was heard by a three-judge panel of that Court on January 11. 2011. The appeal requests that the jury verdict be reversed, the case remanded to US District Court for a new trial, and that it be reassigned to a new judge.
Certain statements in this press release other than purely historical information, including estimates, projections, statements relating to our business plans, objectives, and expected operating results, and the assumptions upon which those statements are based, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We have tried, whenever possible, to identify these forward-looking statements using words such as "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "continues," "likely," "may," "opportunity," "potential," "projects," "will," "expects," "plans," "intends" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, whether in the negative or the affirmative. These statements reflect our current beliefs and are based on information currently available to us. Accordingly, such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, such statements. These risks, uncertainties, factors and contingencies include, without limitation, the challenges inherent in new product development initiatives through Star Tobacco and Rock Creek, the uncertainties inherent in the progress of scientific research, our ability to raise additional capital in the future that is necessary to maintain our business, potential disputes concerning our intellectual property, risks associated with litigation regarding such intellectual property, uncertainties associated with the development, testing and regulatory approvals of our low-TSNA tobacco, related tobacco products and pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products , market acceptance of our new smokeless tobacco products and nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products, competition from companies with greater resources than us, our dependence on key employees and on our prior strategic relationships with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation in light of its combination with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Inc.
Although the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that the expectations will be attained or that any deviation will not be material. See additional discussion under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K as filed with the SEC on March 16, 2010, and other factors detailed from time to time in the Company's other filings with the SEC, available at www.sec.gov. All information in this release is current as of this date, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or advise upon any such forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
About Star Scientific
Star Scientific is a technology-oriented company with a mission to reduce the harm associated with tobacco at every level. It is engaged in the development of dissolvable smokeless tobacco products that deliver fewer carcinogenic toxins, principally through the utilization of the innovative StarCured® tobacco curing technology. Its subsidiary, Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is involved in the development of nutraceuticals as well as products to address neurological and mood disorders. Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals has scientific and research offices in Gloucester, MA, and a regulatory office in Washington, D.C. Star Scientific has a Corporate and Sales Office in Glen Allen, VA, an Executive, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs office in Bethesda, MD, and a manufacturing facility in Chase City, VA.
See Star's website at: http://www.starscientific.com
Sara Troy Machir
Vice President, Communications & Investor Relations
SOURCE Star Scientific, Inc.
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