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Clint Eastwood Can’t Claim Interest in Doctor’s Patents

May 2, 2019, 2:26 PM

Clint Eastwood’s trust can’t claim ownership in patents related to a doctor’s research that it helped fund.

The 1988 Clinton Eastwood Trust didn’t have standing to challenge the ownership of the patents as “shareholders twice removed” from the doctor’s company, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said May 1.

Eastwood provided loans of nearly $500,000 to support medical researcher Harry B. Demopoulos’s work on developing an antioxidant to treat diabetes and other diseases from 1985 to 2006. Demopoulos gave Eastwood stock in his company, Antioxidant Pharmaceuticals Corp., in return. APC received six patents related to the research.

Kevin Davis worked with Demopoulos to create MDC New York, which was meant to be a corporate umbrella for all of Demopoulos’s business ventures. APC transferred the patents to MDC. Demopoulos and Davis filed two new patent applications listing MDC as the assignee that Eastwood said were based on the APC patents. One of the applications issued as U.S. Patent No. 9,901,611.

Eastwood argued that Davis included his name on the applications “to swindle the patents from Dr. Demopoulos and APC’s shareholders,” and that Davis could transfer ownership of the patent and application to MDC only because he was wrongfully listed as an inventor.

The court dismissed the Eastwood Trust’s claims because it failed to assert ownership of the patent or application and didn’t allege a “concrete financial interest” sufficient for standing. It’s status as “shareholders twice removed” was too distant from the patents to confer standing, the court said.

The trust’s status as Demopoulos’s creditor didn’t confer standing either, the court said. It didn’t allege a security interest in the patents or any other rights based on its loans.

Therefore, the court dismissed the case without prejudice for a lack of jurisdiction.

Judge John G. Koeltl wrote the opinion.

Robins Kaplan LLP represented Eastwood. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented MDC.

The case is Eastwood v. Molecular Defs. Corp., S.D.N.Y., No. 18cv6652, 5/1/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com