Judge Rejects Clint Eastwood's Lawsuit Over Medical Invention

The actor-director invested in research and then alleged being swindled out of patents.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI

Clint Eastwood's successes in the film industry are undeniable, but he's having a bit more trouble with attempts to reclaim intellectual property on the medical front.

As alleged in a lawsuit filed last July, Eastwood invested in the research of Dr. Harry Demopoulos, who was studying glutathione, a supplement said to boost the immune system and potentially combat diabetes and other diseases. After Dr. Demopoulos suffered a stroke in 2016, Molecular Defenses Corporation and its chief, Kevin Davis, allegedly swooped in to have ownership of patents transferred. Eastwood claims that these patents were swindled, that the patents wrongfully listed Davis as an inventor and that as a result of "corporate shell games," he was deprived of rights to the intellectual property.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl dismisses Eastwood's complaint.

The judge accepts the defendants' argument that Eastwood doesn't have standing to bring claims that include correction on inventorship because he doesn't own the patents at issue.

Eastwood alternatively argued he had standing through financial interest in the patents as a shareholder of Dr. Demopoulos' companies, but the judge finds that insufficient because those patents are owned by Davis' companies and Eastwood only indirectly has ownership interest.

Finally, the judge rejects standing based on Eastwood's allegation of being a creditor of Dr. Demopoulos. That still doesn't give title to the patents.

"At bottom, the plaintiffs fail to allege that the Eastwood Trust, or any of the other plaintiffs, have or ever had any interest in the '611 patent or the '381 application," writes the judge. "Rather, the plaintiffs allege that Davis wrongfully caused the conversion of the '611 patent and the '381 application. But that claim requires them to succeed on state law claims before bringing federal inventorship or priority claims."

The dismissal is without prejudice, which affords Eastwood an opportunity to try again at a later time. He could target Davis in state court first.

Here's the full decision.