Proteon logo     Print Page | Close Window

SEC Filings

PROTEON THERAPEUTICS INC filed this Form S-1/A on 10/07/2014
Entire Document

Table of Contents

        We rely upon unpatented know-how to maintain our competitive position, which we seek to protect, in part, by confidentiality agreements with our employees and our collaborators and consultants. It is possible that technology relevant to our business will be independently developed by a person that is not a party to such an agreement. Furthermore, if the employees and consultants who are parties to these agreements breach or violate the terms of these agreements, we may not have adequate remedies for any such breach or violation, and our confidential know-how could become known to others through such breaches or violations. Further, our know-how could otherwise become known or be independently discovered by our competitors. Further, the term of confidentiality requirements for current and terminated agreements with some of our consultants, contract manufacturing or research organizations and other third parties is finite.

We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our patents and other intellectual property.

        We enter into confidentiality and intellectual property assignment agreements with our employees, consultants, outside scientific collaborators, sponsored researchers and other advisors. These agreements generally provide that inventions conceived by the party in the course of rendering services to us will be our exclusive property. However, these agreements may not be honored and may not effectively assign intellectual property rights to us. For example, even if we have a consulting agreement in place with an academic advisor pursuant to which such academic advisor is required to assign any inventions developed in connection with providing services to us, such academic advisor may not have the right to assign such inventions to us, as it may conflict with his or her obligations to assign all such intellectual property to his or her employing institution.

        Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship or ownership of inventions. If we are unsuccessful in defending against any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.

Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.

        The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent process. There are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

Issued patents covering PRT-201 or covering any additional product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court.

        If we initiated legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent, if and when issued, covering PRT-201 or any additional product candidate, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering our product candidate is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge include alleged failures to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for unenforceability assertions include allegations that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include reexamination and inter partes review in the United States and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, e.g., opposition proceedings. Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment of