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Kenyon Successfully Represents Toyota in Years-Long Patent Litigation

Kenyon & Kenyon LLP successfully represented Toyota Motor Corp. in a long term patent litigation against American Vehicular Sciences (AVS). Originally brought by AVS in the Eastern District of Texas, the matter asserted 24 patents across seven separate cases – accusing essentially every major Toyota vehicular safety system. In the three years since the original filing, the Kenyon team filed 12 separate petitions for inter partes review (IPR) and won a stay in the E.D. Tex. pending resolution of the IPRs. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board granted each of the IPRs, and significant claims were cancelled or dropped. Additionally, the Kenyon team successfully petitioned the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus and the case was transferred from the E.D. Tex. to the Eastern District of Michigan, and filed various invalidity summary judgment papers, causing the plaintiff to drop a number of other asserted patents. In May of 2015, the E.D. Mich. granted the plaintiff’s unopposed motions to dismiss with prejudice all of the remaining cases against Toyota. (2015)

Deborah A. Somerville Partner
New York, NY 1.212.908.6142


Deborah Somerville has substantial experience in the management, protection, and enforcement of intellectual property rights for major U.S. and foreign clients. Her practice focuses on the issues confronting clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical and medical device industries. Ms. Somerville’s clients have included emerging and global biotech, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, as well as research institutes, universities, and investment firms.

Ms. Somerville counsels clients on the validity, scope, enforceability, and transfer of intellectual property rights. She actively guides clients in introducing new products and in developing intellectual property strategies and portfolios. While successfully procuring commercially significant patents, she has supervised the drafting of applications and their prosecution. She also negotiates licenses and conducts due diligence for corporate transactions. In addition, Ms. Somerville has considerable experience with patent litigation before the federal courts and inter partes proceedings.

The contributions she has made to the life sciences community have been recognized by the New York Biotechnology Association, which awarded Ms. Somerville the “The Cure Starts Here” Business Leaders of the Year award. Additionally, she has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States and IAM 1000 – The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners. She was also named a “Life Sciences Star” by LMG Life Sciences.

Ms. Somerville is a U.S. contributing author for Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, and Chemical Inventions: World Protection and Exploitation, which was published by Oxford University Press.

Select Publications

  • “2014 Annual Biotech Patent Law Update,” June 11, 2014.
  • “More on Myriad and the USPTO's Myriad-Mayo Guidance: USPTO Forum May 9,” April 22, 2014.
  • Consumer Watchdog v. WARF Stem Cell Case Could Test Myriad’s Reach,” July 29, 2013.
  • “Thoughts on Oral Arguments in Gene Patent Case,” Law360, April 17, 2013.
  • “Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Whether Human Genes are Patentable,” April 16, 2013.
  • PerkinElmer – A Sign of What’s to Come for Diagnostics,” Law360, March 4, 2013.
  • “To Do Before March 16, 2013,” Feb. 5, 2013.


Insights and News




  • University of Michigan, J.D., 1984
  • University of Denver, Chemistry, B.S., summa cum laude, 1981

Bar and Court Admissions

  • New York
  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Registered Patent Attorney: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Professional Organizations

  • New York Biotechnology Association
  • Licensing Executives Society
  • New York Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law and Litigation Sections 
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • New York Academy of Science