Merritt Westcott is a partner in the firm’s Houston office. Her practice focuses in patent litigation, including analysis of infringement, validity, and enforceability of patents, as well as in intellectual property counseling. Her cases are in a variety of industries, with a concentration is those related to biotechnology, including matters involving genetically engineered crops and food products, genetically engineered and traditional pharmaceuticals, monoclonal antibodies, and blood cell control products. In addition, she has been actively involved in litigation matters related to mass storage systems, computer software, and oil and gas exploration technology.
Ms. Westcott counsels clients on intellectual property enforcement matters, litigation strategy, licensing, and settlement negotiations. She is experienced in all aspects of case development, as well as handling indemnification issues related to intellectual property litigations. Ms. Westcott also has experience in representing clients in patent interference proceedings, both before the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Board of Appeals and Interferences and in federal district court.
Within her counseling practice, she assists clients in assessing their competitors’ patent portfolios. This includes advising clients with respect to their relative freedom to operate a given technology.
Streck, Inc. v. Research and Diagnostic Systems, et al. (Fed. Cir.) Served as appellate counsel to Streck, Inc. before the Federal Circuit, which affirmed a Nebraska district court’s decision in a suit under 35 U.S.C. § 146 that scientists of Streck invented an integrated hematology control product before scientists from competitor, R&D.
Streck, Inc. v. Research and Diagnostic Systems, et al. (D. Neb.) Acted as counsel for Streck, Inc. in patent action pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 146 regarding determination of priority of invention. Streck was awarded priority of invention, reversing previous ruling to the contrary by the United States Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.
Streck, Inc. v. Research and Diagnostic Systems, et al. Acted as trial counsel representing patentee in infringement case regarding hematology control products. Obtained summary judgment of infringement and subsequent verdict finding patents valid following a two-week jury trial.
Unitherm Food Systems v. Foster Farms. Served as lead counsel defending patent infringement suit relating to methods of food pasteurization. Patentee dismissed case with prejudice and disclaimed patent in suit with the USPTO.
Streck Laboratories, Inc. v. Beckman Coulter, et al. Acted as counsel in a patent infringement action regarding hematology instruments. The case was settled during trial.
Storage Technology Corp. v. Quantum Corp. Served as counsel in a multiple patent infringement action involving magnetic tape storage device and media. The case was settled during trial after a successful preliminary injunction hearing.
Monsanto Co. v. Eli Lilly & Co., Eli Lilly & Co. v. Monsanto. Acted as counsel in a patent infringement case regarding BST formulation and processes for purification of protein. The case was settled.
The Regents of the University of California v. Monsanto Company. Represented the defendant in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a patent infringement suit related to methods of making and using bovine growth hormone.
Monsanto Company v. Genetic Technologies Ltd. Represented the plaintiff in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in a patent infringement suit relating to methods for detection of intron DNA sequences.
Ms. Westcott has been named a “Texas Rising Star” in intellectual property litigation by SuperLawyers in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Honors and Awards
Ms. Westcott is a member of the American Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Houston Bar Association, and Houston Intellectual Property Law Association.
Ms. Westcott received a B.S., cum laude, in Biology from Texas Christian University in 1995. She received an M.S., summa cum laude, in Microbiology from the University of Texas – Austin in 1997 and her J.D., cum laude, in 2000 from the University of Houston Law Center in 2000.
“Think Hard Before Threatening: Wording Cease and Desist Letters,” Houston Business Journal - Business Survival Guide (May 6 - 12, 2005).
Speeches and Publications