On April 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit handed a definitive victory to Stryker Corp. (Kalamazoo, MI) and Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc. (Culver City, CA) in a patent infringement case that lasted nearly six years. In its ruling, the court affirmed that the companies did not infringe certain patents held by Luma Corp. because the patents were invalid.
The decision upholds an earlier summary judgment of noninfringement and invalidity by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. According to McAndrews, Held & Malloy (Chicago)—Stryker's legal counsel during the case— Luma filed the suit in September 2002, alleging that the companies infringed 10 claims of Luma's U.S. Patent No. 5,740,801. The patent, titled “Managing Information in an Endoscopy System,” relates to a system for acquiring and storing images during a medical procedure.
Surrette: A definitive win.
The accused Stryker products included the Stryker SDC Pro and SDC Pro II digital picture capture systems, and Hermes, a system for controlling medical devices in an operating room through voice commands.
In 2006, the district court ruled that the defendants did not infringe eight asserted claims of the patent. The court further ruled that two other claims of the patent were invalid.
“This ruling effectively ends the plaintiff's case against Stryker,” said Bob Surrette, a shareholder at McAndrews, Held & Malloy. “The federal circuit found that the district court did not commit any errors in construing the claims when granting the summary judgment.”
In addition to Surrette, McAndrews attorneys Greg Vogler, Tim Malloy, and Merle Elliott represented Stryker.
Industry IP in Brief
In addition to the above intellectual property development, the following medtech IP news was announced this past month.
- Terumo Cardiovascular Systems (Ann Arbor, MI) responded to a recent patent infringement complaint by Maquet Cardiovascular LLC (Bridgewater, NJ). The complaint alleges that Terumo CVS and its parent company, Terumo Corp., infringed on two patents related to the sale of the Terumo VirtuoSaph endoscopic vein harvesting system. In response, Terumo stated that it does not infringe on valid intellectual property rights of any company. It also noted that the VirtuoSaph system is protected by multiple Terumo patents. “Frankly, we're surprised at this lawsuit as these patents are several years old and our product has been on the market for more than three years with great success,” said Mark DiClemente, vice president of sales for Terumo Cardiovascular Systems.
- Given Imaging Ltd. (Yoqneam, Israel) has signed a settlement with Olympus Corp. (Tokyo) that puts an end to patent litigation between the two companies in the United States concerning their respective capsule endoscopy products. The settlement, the terms of which are confidential, reportedly includes certain worldwide cross-licenses under which each party receives a royalty-free license under all existing patents of the other party for its respective existing capsule endoscopy products. The parties also agreed not to sue on currently available medical device products and agreed to a release of all past causes of action. The settlement also includes a payment to Given Imaging of $2.33 million and an agreement to cooperate in future mutually beneficial joint market-development projects.
- St. Jude Medical Inc. (St. Paul, MN) has been awarded a patent for treating depression using neurostimulation therapy in an area of the brain known as Brodmann Area 25. The area is the focus of a St. Jude Medical study that is evaluating whether deep brain stimulation therapy can help people who suffer from major depressive disorder, a severe form of depression. The study is being conducted under an FDA investigational device exemption. “This patent is a cornerstone in developing our approach to deep brain stimulation for depression, which is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. among illnesses,” said Chris Chavez, president of St. Jude Medical's Advanced Neuromodulation Systems division.
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