UPDATED State Of The Play — Merck Vs. Merck Settlement Efforts, Now To Be Held Before An Able USDC Magistrate Judge…

Well — we now have dates in November to work with — as all day settlement conferences, before the able USDC Judge (Mag.) Michael Hammer. And a global resolution is clearly the end goal. [But it has been quite elusive thus far — going back at least eight (or. . . eighty) years.]

Here is a link to the full five page joint letter, filed yesterday — setting out possible dates, and areas of remaining contention — and a bit:

. . . .Following the parties’ October 5, 2020 conference with the Court, the parties have conferred and have agreed to participate in a settlement conference with Your Honor. Both parties and their counsel are available for an all-day settlement conference on November 16, November 18, or November 30 subject to the Court’s availability. If those dates are not convenient for the Court, we would be happy to explore other potential dates. . . .

For nearly a year, this matter has been stayed to give the parties the opportunity to negotiate a global resolution of all the cases between the parties, which includes this matter as well as parallel litigations in China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, and Switzerland (the litigations between the parties in the United Kingdom and France were resolved by the courts in those countries, and the litigation between the parties in Australia has recently been settled). . . .

Recent discussions constitute the latest chapter in a series of negotiations which started in 2013 after the filing of the first lawsuits in Europe and have always been led by the companies’ global general counsels and involved their CEOs or other executive board members. Unfortunately, despite the parties’ best efforts, they were unable to achieve a global resolution. That is why the parties have now refocused their attention on whether disputes in each country can be resolved individually.

The issues in the United States case — the one case globally where Merck & Co. is the plaintiff and Merck KGaA is the defendant — are complex. They cover wide ranging issues related to Defendant’s use of its company name in the United States (which Defendant maintains is permitted by the parties’ coexistence agreement), as well as allegations of false advertising and cybersquatting. Plaintiffs also complained about various historical usages of the MERCK name on the Internet, at conferences and elsewhere that were accessible in the United States but have since been addressed and discontinued. Plaintiffs seek damages for the historical usages about which they complain and injunctive relief. . . .

Defendant’s attempt to override Plaintiffs’ judgment and compel [US Merck’s GC] Ms. Zachary’s personal appearance at the mediation is deeply misguided, and should be rejected by this Court. . . .

So — clearly still a lot of wood to chop, here. . . but ever onward, grinning. Be excellent to one another.

नमस्ते

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