In a June jury trial, a federal district court in Delaware ruled that Disc-O-Tech Medical Technologies Ltd. (Herzliya, Israel) had infringed the patents of Kyphon Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), a manufacturer of medical devices to treat and restore spinal anatomy using minimally invasive techniques. The court also granted Kyphon a permanent injunction against Disc-O-Tech, which prevents the company from selling or importing its SKy bone expander in the United States, effective July 22. Disc-O-Tech's patent-infringing product is a polymer that is injected into the spine to stabilize collapsed vertebrae.
The ruling covers Kyphon's patents for kyphoplasty methods relating to minimally invasive surgical procedures for treating spinal fractures where a cement-like material is injected directly into the fractured bone. In kyphoplasty, a special balloon is inserted and inflated inside the fractured vertebrae before injecting the cement-like material. In addition to stabilizing the fracture and easing pain, use of the balloon restores height to the bone, thus reducing the deformity of the spine.
In deciding the infringement case, the court went even further. It also ruled that Kyphon's patents are not limited to kyphoplasty performed with balloon-based technology, but are much broader in scope.
Disc-O-Tech stipulated to both the validity and enforceability of all contested Kyphon patents and to the permanent injunction against its SKy bone expander product in the United States. According to the court, the patent dispute was settled in Kyphon's favor without the possibility of further trial or appeal from Disc-O-Tech.
“We are obviously pleased with the outcome of our patent dispute against Disc-O-Tech,” said Richard Mott, president and CEO of Kyphon. “We have consistently maintained that our kyphoplasty patents provide broad protection and are not limited to just balloon-based technology. We are encouraged that the first real test of the strength of Kyphon's intellectual property produced this result.”
Established in 1994, Kyphon has 706 employees and reported sales of $213.4 million in 2004, a 63% increase over 2003 revenues of $131 million. Disc-O-Tech is privately held.
Medical devices and surgical instruments for minimally invasive procedures make up one of the fastest growing sectors of the $3.5 billion global spine market.
© 2005 Canon Communications LLC
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