Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)


12 Months Ended
Jul. 31, 2021
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  

Note 16 – Contingencies


The Company has brought cases in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (“the Court”), alleging patent infringement against various companies. In 2017, the Court ruled that the asserted claims of the ’180 and ’405 Patents are invalid for nonenablement in cases involving Abbott, Becton Dickinson, Gen-Probe, Hologic, and Roche. That ruling was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) in June 2019. Enzo subsequently filed a petition for certiorari regarding the invalidity ruling for the ’180 and ’405 Patents in February 2020; the Supreme Court denied Enzo’s petition on March 30, 2020. There are currently two cases that were originally brought by the Company in the Court. In those two cases, Enzo alleges patent infringement against Becton Dickinson Defendants and Roche Defendants, respectively. The claims in those cases involve the ’197 Patent. Both cases are stayed.


In separate inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) involving, among others, Becton Dickinson, certain claims of the ’197 Patent were found unpatentable as anticipated or obvious and cancelled by the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“Board”). Enzo appealed that decision to the Federal Circuit. On August 16, 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision, finding that each of the challenged claims is unpatentable. The Company filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc on October 30, 2019, which the Federal Circuit denied on December 4, 2019. The Company filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court on March 3, 2020, which was denied.


In April 2019, the Company entered into an agreement with Hologic and Grifols, resolving litigation resulting from four cases originally brought by the Company in the Court.  As a result, Enzo dismissed (1) a stayed patent litigation regarding the ’180 and ’197 Patent against Hologic in the Court; (2) the Consolidated Appeals against Gen-Probe and Hologic resulting from two cases filed in the Court, and (3) the Company’s appeal in the litigation involving the ’581 Patent that involved both Hologic and Grifols. As a result of the agreement with Hologic, Hologic withdrew from Enzo’s Federal Circuit appeal of the Board’s adverse rulings in the inter partes review proceedings regarding the ’197 Patent filed by Hologic and joined by Becton Dickinson mentioned above.


On September 2, 2021, the PTO issued a non-final office action in an ex parte reexamination concerning the ’197 Patent. In the office action, the PTO rejected certain claims of the ’197 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and for nonstatutory double-patenting. Enzo’s response to the office action is forthcoming.


On February 5, 2020, Harbert Discovery Fund, LP and Harbert Discovery Co-Investment Fund I, LP (“Plaintiffs”) brought an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Company and five of its present or former Directors, Dr. Elazar Rabbani, Barry W. Weiner, Dr. Bruce A. Hanna, Dov Perlysky and Rebecca Fischer. On March 26, 2020, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against the same defendants. Count I asserted the Company violated Section 14(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 14a-9 thereunder by disseminating proxy materials that made two purportedly false statements: (a) a “January 28, 2020 Enzo press release [that purportedly] falsely stated that the Annual Meeting would be ‘delayed’ by action of the Board to February 25, 2020 when, in fact, the Annual Meeting would convene as planned on January 31, 2020”, and (b) a “January 31 Enzo Proxy [that purportedly] falsely stated that the Proposed By-Law Amendment [to Article II, Section 9] would be approved if it received…a majority of the votes….rather than the required Supermajority Vote as provided for in the Charter. “Count II asserted a claim against the individual defendants under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act premised on Enzo’s purported violation of Section 14(a) and Rule 14a-9. Count III asserted the individual defendants breached their fiduciary duty, based on the same conduct and by seeking to entrench themselves. Finally, Count IV purported to assert a derivative claim for a declaration that any amendment to Article II, Section 2 requires the approval of 80% of Enzo’s shareholders. On July 16, 2020, the day before the defendants’ motion to dismiss was due, plaintiffs asked the Court to dismiss their claims without prejudice. Defendants asked plaintiffs to dismiss the claims with prejudice, but they refused. On July 17, 2020, the Court dismissed the claims without prejudice. If plaintiffs reassert the claims, defendants intend to vigorously defend against them.


On November 27, 2020, the Company brought an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Harbert Discovery Fund, LP, Harbert Discovery Co-Investment Fund I, LP, Harbert Fund Advisors, Inc., Harbert Management Corp. and Kenan Lucas. The Company alleges the defendants made false and misleading representations, or omitted to state material facts necessary to make their statements not misleading, in proxy materials they disseminated seeking the election to the Company’s Board of Directors at its 2019 Annual Meeting of two candidates they nominated, in violation of Section 14(a) of the 1934 Exchange Act and Rule 14a-9 thereunder. The Company seeks damages and injunctive relief. On February 15, 2021, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On March 8, 2021, the Company filed its opposition to that motion. On March 18, 2021 defendants filed their reply in further support of the motion. On September 28, 2021, the Court denied the motion with respect to the Company’s misrepresentation claims and granted it with respect to its omissions claim. The Company intends to vigorously pursue its misrepresentation claim.


There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in any of these litigations. Even if the Company is not successful, management does not believe that there will be a significant adverse monetary impact on the Company. The Company is party to other claims, legal actions, complaints, and contractual disputes that arise in the ordinary course of business. The Company believes that any liability that may ultimately result from the resolution of these matters will not, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on its financial position or results of operations.


As described in Note 3, third-party payers, including government programs, may decide to deny payment or recoup payments for testing that they contend was improperly billed or not medically necessary, against their coverage determinations, or for which they believe they have otherwise overpaid (including as a result of their own error), and we may be required to refund payments already received. During the third fiscal quarter of 2019, a significant third-party payer informed us outside of their typical business practice that they believe it overpaid the Company during certain periods of fiscal 2018. The Company disputed these claims and formally sent legal appeal letters to the payer. During the fiscal 2020 period, we recorded $0.8 million in legal and related expenses as a result of reduced reimbursements this payer made to us. In April 2020, we and the payer entered into a settlement agreement and release whereby the parties agreed that the $0.8 million previously withheld by the payer shall fully and completely satisfy the dispute.

The following legal settlements are included in the statement of operations under Legal settlements, net within the Life Science segment for the 2019 period:


The Company, along with its subsidiaries Enzo Life Sciences, Inc. entered into a Settlement Agreement as of February 5, 2019 (the “Agreement) with Roche Diagnostics GmbH and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (together, “Roche”) with respect to an action between the Company and Roche before the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Case No 04-CV4046. Roche agreed to pay the Company $21 million in settlement pursuant to the Agreement. The Company received $19.4 million net of attorney contingency payments. This settlement does not affect the Company’s civil action for patent infringement against Roche in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Enzo Life Sciences Inc. v. Roche Molecular Systems Inc., et al., civil action No. 12 cv-00106, which remains stayed.


The Company, along with its subsidiaries Enzo Life Sciences, Inc. entered into a settlement and license agreement as of April 16, 2019 (the “Agreement”) with Hologic, Inc. (“Hologic”), Grifols, S.A., and Grifols Diagnostic Solutions Inc. (together, “Grifols”) to settle all outstanding patent disputes among the parties.  The terms of the agreement include one-time payments totaling $14 million to the Company in exchange for fully paid-up, worldwide licenses to Hologic and Grifols. The Company received $9.5 million net of attorney contingency payments.