Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


9 Months Ended
Apr. 30, 2022
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  

Note 12 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 responded to the office action on January 3, 2022.


On February 5, 2020, Harbert Discovery Fund, LP and Harbert Discovery Co-Investment Fund I, LP (“HDF”) 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, HDF 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 purportedly false statements. 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, HDF asked the Court to dismiss their claims without prejudice. Defendants asked HDF to dismiss the claims with prejudice, but they refused. On July 17, 2020, the Court dismissed the claims without prejudice.


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 (together, “Harbert”). The Company alleges Harbert 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 October 12, 2021, HDF filed nine counterclaims against the Company and present and former directors Dr. Elazar Rabbani, Barry W. Weiner, Dr. Bruce A. Hanna, Dov Perlysky, Rebeca Fischer, Dr. Mary Tagliaferri and Dr. Ian B. Walters. HDF claims the Company made false and misleading representations in proxy materials it disseminated in connection with its 2019 Annual Meeting, in violation of Section 14(a) of the 1934 Exchange Act and Rule 14a-9 thereunder, and that the Company’s directors at that time are liable under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act for the Company’s purported misstatements. HDF also claims that current and former Company directors breached their fiduciary duties by taking four corporate actions: (a) adjourning the 2019 meeting for 25 days; (b) purportedly causing the two Harbert candidates for director, who were elected at the 2019 Meeting, to resign in November 2020; (c) authorizing the November 27, 2020 Lawsuit; and (d) not accepting Dr. Rabbani’s resignation as a director in March 2021. On December 9, 2021, the Court granted the motion to dismiss except with respect to the counterclaim that Enzo violated the securities law by announcing on January 20, 2020 that it had decided to “delay” the 2019 annual meeting when it intended to convene and adjourn the meeting (the “Delay Statement”) and the counterclaims that the Company’s directors at that time violated Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act and breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the Delay Statement. The Court allowed HDF to move for leave to replead with respect to its counterclaims that were dismissed.


On June 7, 2022, the Company, Drs. Hanna, Tagliaferri, and Walters, Ms. Fischer, Mr. Perlysky and Harbert executed a settlement agreement. A stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was so ordered by the Court on June 7, 2022.   Pursuant to the terms of the Order: (i) all claims asserted by Harbert against the Company, Drs. Hanna, Tagliaferri, and Walter, Ms. Fischer, and Mr. Perlysky shall be dismissed with prejudice, and (ii) all claims asserted by the Company against Harbert shall be dismissed with prejudice.  Messrs. Rabbani and Weiner did not execute the settlement agreement.


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.