Saturday, October 14, 2006

Medtronic Loses Patent Challenge in CAFC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed an earlier District Court ruling which rejected a patent dispute by Medtronic Inc., challenging the validity of a heart-rhythm device patent license to Guidant Corp. The Federal Appeals Court backed the District Court’s decision to uphold cardiac resynchronization patent for which Guidant had exclusive rights under an agreement with Mirowski Family Ventures LLC. Earlier in 2003, Medtronic filed a declaratory judgment action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Guidant Corp., Eli Lilly, and Mirowski Family Ventures LLC (collectively “the Guidant”) to avoid paying royalties to Guidant for use of the technology covered by the U.S. Reissue Patent # 38,119 (the ‘119 patent). In the action, Medtronic alleged that claims 15-26 of the ‘119 patent, a reissue of U.S. Patent # 4,928,688 (the ‘688 patent), are invalid by reason of violation of the rule against recapturing surrendered subject-matter. The ‘119 patent claims a method and a pacemaker apparatus for conditionally or unconditionally pacing the two ventricles of the heart to cause simultaneous ventricular contradictions. The District Court held a three-day bench trial and in its decision after trial, ruled that the ‘119 patent did not improperly recapture the subject matter that was surrendered during prosecution, which Medtronic appealed.

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