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Questions And Answers On ACS v. Leadscope Inc.

Intellectual Property: Society seeks to answer member questions, concerns by posting online a lengthy, no-holds-barred explanation

by William G. Schulz
December 21, 2012

A chronology of the ACS v. Leadscope Inc. intellectual property suit—finally settled by the parties in late September—has been posted online by the American Chemical Society. It is a lengthy, no-holds-barred explanation of member questions and concerns that have been raised repeatedly during the case but especially as a final resolution to the lawsuit began to appear on the horizon in early fall of this year.

The introduction to the document, which is presented in Q&A format, states: “Without intending to reargue ACS’s positions in that matter, and recognizing the very disappointing outcome that resulted for ACS, we offer the following additional information. We hope it will allow ACS members and other stakeholders to have a richer understanding of our perspectives on the chronology of events surrounding this case.”

The document proceeds with a detailed history of the case from its origins in 1997. It covers all decision-making by the ACS Governing Board for Publishing and other leaders and executives of the society. It is noted that not any one member of ACS executive ranks or governance is responsible for ACS v. Leadscope Inc. and its outcome. From the beginning, shared decision-making characterized all of the society’s actions regarding the dispute.

Amicus briefs filed by many stakeholders in Ohio and elsewhere are also noted in the document with links provided. Court decisions, from the original jury trial to the recent Ohio Supreme Court decision, are summarized and explained.

The terms and final amount of the settlement with Leadscope Inc. are presented in full detail. The document states that, in the end, the case has cost the society approximately $32 million. The document addresses such related topics as the source of funds from ACS financial accounts to pay the settlement and all legal fees, the impact on the society’s budget and on member dues, and the amount of coverage that may be provided by the society’s insurance policies.

Finally, the document poses the question of whether ACS has learned anything from the protracted court battle. The answer, in part:

“This case serves as a reminder as to why it is important that ACS continue its long practice of avoiding litigation if at all possible. Prior to filing suit in Leadscope, ACS employed a robust review, involving two separate outside law firms, staff and governance. Obviously, ACS will continue to have a heightened awareness of the risks and uncertainties involved in litigation and will redouble its efforts to settle disputes amicably.”



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