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TheStreet Open House

Court refuses to get involved in tobacco fight

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ The Supreme Court has refused to get in the middle of a patent fight over a way to cure tobacco that may make it less carcinogenic.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., who is being sued by Star Scientific, Inc.

Star Scientific, Inc. says R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. infringed on its patents on a way to cure tobacco minimizing the formation of tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNA, which may be carcinogenic.

But a trial court says the patents are unenforceable, because the inventor kept from the Patent and Trademark Office key documents and information ¿ including that low-TSNA tobacco already had been grown in the U.S.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision, saying a judge cannot throw a patent out without clear and convincing evidence that a deception was intentional.

R.J. Reynolds lawyers wanted the high court to look at the case again, saying the appeals court ignored previous rulings on how to judge when a patent applicant doesn't turn over all required information.

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