Bloomberg Law
March 16, 2023, 11:19 PM

Funders Unmasked in 2017 Patent Suit Over Organon’s Nexplanon

Christopher Yasiejko
Christopher Yasiejko

A patent-holding firm seeking royalties from Nexplanon, a contraceptive implant whose US sales were nearly 10% of Merck & Co. spinoff Organon & Co.’s 2022 revenue, revealed in a court filing that two litigation funders are fueling Microspherix LLC’s 2017 infringement suit.

Microspherix is owned by Edward J. Kaplan, the sole named inventor of the asserted patents. No “person or entity” other than Microspherix has an ownership interest in any of them, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company says in court filings.

But in a third-party litigation funding disclosure statement filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, Microspherix said it had received funding from the Mill Valley, Calif.-based Law Finance Group and from Zepata SPV LLC, an affiliate of Chicago-based GLS Capital LLC.

GLS Capital, a commercial litigation-finance firm with more than $500 million under management, last month announced Samsung Electronics Co. had agreed to pay $150 million to end all global litigation between it and Nanoco Technologies Ltd., a GLS client.

According to Wednesday’s disclosure statement, no approval from Law Finance Group, Zepata, or GLS is needed “in any way for litigation decisions or settlement decisions” in the Microspherix case. Only Microspherix and Kaplan control any such decisions, it says.

But Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the plaintiff’s attorneys in the dispute, “took this matter on a contingency arrangement,” the filing says. And Kirkland agreed in 2022 “to share a portion of any proceeds it receives from this matter with LFG and GLS in exchange for a non-recourse payment of a portion of its estimated fees for the matter.”

Microspherix earlier this week responded to counterclaims that Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. and Organon USA Inc. filed in August 2021. The plaintiff wasn’t required to respond until the court decided on competing claim-construction motions. Judge Renée Marie Bumb’s Feb. 27 order did just that.

Bumb, in the same order, also said that, “given the age of this case,” she “intends to try it as expeditiously as possible.” She vacated the case’s scheduling order and said a magistrate judge would set up a conference once the parties filed a joint letter detailing how they’d “advance this matter” quickly toward trial.

Bumb approved their proposed schedule on Thursday, setting the trial for the week of Oct. 16.

Organon made its stock-market debut in June 2021. Nexplanon had US sales of $573 million in 2022, 9.3% of Organon’s revenue and up from $532 million in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg LP. The drug’s US sales also accounted for more than a third of the women’s health division’s $1.67 billion in global sales in 2022.

Microspherix is represented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Merck Sharp & Dohme and Organon are represented by McCarter & English LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

The case is Microspherix LLC v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., D.N.J., No. 17-cv-3984, funding disclosure statement filed 3/15/23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Yasiejko in Wilmington, Del., at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Maya Earls at

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