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Patent Fight Between Covidien and J&J's Ethicon Heats Up

Patent Fight Between Covidien and J&J's Ethicon Heats Up
Covidien has won a preliminary injuction to stop Ethicon from manufacturing, marketing, and selling its Harmonic Ace+7 ultrasonic surgery device.  

Ethicon's Harmonic Ace+7

Covidien won the latest battle in its patent war with Ethicon Endo-Surgery today when the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut granted a preliminary injunction against Ethicon, preventing it from manufacturing, marketing, and selling an ultrasonic surgical device.

The injunction stems from a lawsuit filed by Ireland-based Covidien this summer that alleged that the Harmonic Ace+7 infringes three of its patents.

“Covidien operates within a highly competitive global health care environment. We are pleased that the court has recognized the value of our intellectual property. As demonstrated by our actions, we will vigorously protect our innovative products, solutions and intellectual property,” Chris Barry, president of advanced surgical at Covidien, says in a statement.

Ethicon says it is disappointed in the court's decision and plans to appeal. The company has also requested a stay of injunction until the appeal process is complete. 

"The patents being asserted in the current litigation relate to technology developed in the mid-1990s and are not directed to the unique benefits of Ethicon’s Adaptive Tissue Technology, the innovation that has made the HARMONIC ACE+7 a game changer by changing the way surgeons approach their most complex cases," the company says in a statement.

As MD+DI previously reported, Ethicon’s R&D team said it designed the Harmonic Ace+7, which was granted 510(k) clearance in October 2013, to better compete with Covidien’s advanced bipolar vessel sealing products. A press release touted the device’s ability to provide greater 5–7 mm vessel sealing reliability than Covidien’s LigaSure devices, 140% higher median burst pressure than the LigaSure 5-mm Blunt Tip, and 112% higher median burst pressure than the LigaSure Advance.

"For years, surgeons have told us they’ve felt limited in their options and forced to choose between the benefits of ultrasonic and bipolar, especially in complex cancer procedures," Ethicon's statement reads. "HARMONIC ACE+7 has expanded these options to include ultrasonic, bipolar, and now advanced ultrasonic. Surgeons now have the access to choose the right technology for the unique needs of each patients and each procedure to help them achieve the best outcomes."

This also isn’t the first time the two companies have butted heads over Ethicon’s Harmonic line. A 2010 lawsuit filed by Covidien accused the Johnson & Johnson company of infringing the same patents in question during this latest bout. In that case, Covidien was awarded $176.5 million in damages, though the ruling is currently under appeal.

Jamie Hartford, managing editor, MD+DI
[email protected]

 

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