Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2015
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies
9. Commitments and Contingencies


On March 20, 2014, the Company instituted arbitration proceedings, or the TUM Arbitration, against Technische Universität München, or Munich Technical University and hereafter TUM, to address issues regarding the calculation of payments due from the Company to TUM under the Company´s Research and Licensing Agreement with TUM, as amended, or the TUM License Agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the TUM License Agreement, the arbitration is proceeding in Munich, Germany and governed by German law, in accordance with the arbitration rules of the Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit.

On July 4, 2003, or the Effective Date, the Company and TUM entered into the TUM License Agreement, as superseded and replaced on July 26, 2007, under which TUM has exclusively licensed, or in some cases assigned, to the Company certain intellectual property and know-how that has become part of the Anticalin® proprietary technologies. In return, the Company agreed to pay to TUM certain annual license fees, milestones and royalties for its own proprietary drug development and sales, as well as an variable fee as a function of out-licensing revenues, or the Out-License Fee, where such Out-License Fees are creditable against annual license payments to TUM.

As required by the TUM License Agreement, the Company provided to TUM its calculation of the Out-License Fee owed by the Company to TUM for the period beginning on the Effective Date and ending on December 31, 2012, the Dispute Period, in the amount of $0.4 million excluding value-added tax. TUM has asserted that, under the TUM License Agreement, the Out-License Fee due to TUM for the Dispute Period amounts to $3.4 million excluding value-added tax in the aggregate and has threatened to terminate the TUM License Agreement if the Out-License Fee is not paid. We believe that if TUM sought to terminate the license agreement for cause as a result of this dispute, it would potentially face wrongful termination claims for substantial damages if the arbitral tribunal in the TUM Arbitration sides with Pieris in its final decision regarding the proper amount of the Out-License Fee, but we can provide no assurance regarding the timing, nature or consequences of such decision. The Company instituted the TUM Arbitration to request the arbitration tribunal to hold that the Company’s calculation of the payments owed to TUM is accurate and shall govern all current and future payments due in respect of the Out-License Fee under the TUM License Agreement. The Company has reserved a liability on its balance sheet in respect of such payment in the amount of €271,000 ($327,937). An adverse ruling in the TUM Arbitration could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations and financial condition.

In April 2014, TUM argued to the arbitrators that it is not the proper party to be sued under the action for a declaratory arbitration decision brought by the Company in relation to the Research and Licensing Agreement, and that instead, it is the Free State of Bavaria that is the proper respondent to the action. The Company has responded that TUM has capacity to be sued in relation to any disputes arising from and regarding contractual provisions of the Research and Licensing Agreement and is thus also the proper respondent in the action. In accordance with the arbitration rules of the Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit, each party to the arbitration proceeding has appointed one arbitrator and the party-named arbitrators collectively selected the third arbitrator as the chairman of the arbitration panel.

On December 1, 2014, TUM filed its statement of defense, maintaining its earlier calculation of the Out-License Fee. On December 23, 2014, TUM filed a counterclaim in the amount of €2,529,400 ($3,060,827) to suspend the statute of limitations on its claims. On January 12, 2015, the Company filed a reply brief in response to TUM’s defense.

The arbitration panel held its first hearing in Munich, Germany on January 20, 2015, however the arbitration panel did not come to a conclusion on whether TUM is the proper respondent in the action or on the merits of the case. The panel had previously indicated that it will first decide the issue of whether TUM is the proper respondent in this action. The panel resolved that the value in dispute for both parties’ claims and counterclaims would be fixed at €3,500,000 ($4,235,350), as the calculation of the outstanding Out-Licensing Fee also impacts future payments. On March 3, 2015, the Company submitted a reply brief responding to TUM’s statement of defense and counterclaim. On March 31, 2015, TUM submitted a rebuttal brief.

The panel requested that both the Company and TUM indicate to the panel by April 27, 2015 whether proceedings should be stayed as a result of settlement negotiations. On April 27, 2015, the Company submitted a reply brief requesting proceedings to continue without disruption and moving for leave to comment on TUM’s latest submission in another brief to rebut TUM’s latest arguments. Following an approved extension by the panel for TUM’s submission, TUM submitted its proposal on May 4, 2015, requesting the panel to conduct a mediation hearing and assist the parties to negotiate a settlement. On May 8, 2015, the arbitration tribunal set June 1, 2015 as the deadline for final briefs and offered to schedule another oral hearing in mid-June for the purpose of supporting further settlement negotiations if the parties are in favor of holding a hearing.