Star Scientific Sues RJ Reynolds
BETHESDA, Md. (Reuters) - Cigarette maker Star Scientific Inc. said it filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., charging that Reynolds infringed a Star Scientific patent covering a process to reduce a cancer-causing agent in
The patent at issue, Star Scientific said, involves the curing of tobacco in a controlled environment to substantially reduce the formation of at least one nitrosamine, a cancer-causing agent in tobacco and tobacco smoke.
Tobacco-specific nitrosamines are among the most potent and abundant cancer-causing toxins in tobacco and tobacco smoke, the company said.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, seeks an injunction, as well as financial damages, for infringement of the patent.
A spokesman for Reynolds said the company will vigorously defend against the lawsuit.
``We have not infringed any valid patents by Star,'' spokesman Seth Moskowitz said. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is a unit of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc..
Star said in a statement it believes that successful prosecution of the lawsuit, as well as the tobacco industry's broad adoption of this technology, could yield royalties in the billions of dollars over the life of the patent.
In addition, Star said it notified others in the tobacco industry its exclusive license to the technology, reiterating its willingness to sublicense it.
Shares of Star were up 62 cents, or 29.7 percent, at $2.71 in Thursday morning trading on the Nasdaq. R.J. Reynolds was up 1 cent at $57.51 per share.