Appeals court upholds Medtronic win over Gore in stent graft suit

MassDevice.com news
MassDevice.com news

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision to toss a lawsuit filed in 2010 accusing Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) of violating patents held by W.L. Gore & Associates covering stent graft manufacturing techniques.

Judge Mark Davis of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia dismissed Gore’s claims last year, saying the ruling made Medtronic’s counterclaims moot.

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld that ruling, without comment, according to court documents.

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Gore sued Medtronic in September 2010, alleging that it violated claims in a patent covering the manufacturing process for stent grafts used to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms. Gore accused Medtronic’s Talent abdominal and thoracic stent grafts used a trio of manufacturing processes covered by the patent.

Medtronic argued that some of Gore’s
claims aren’t applicable because the Medtronic entities named in the lawsuit weren’t responsible for importing the devices into the U.S.

Davis agreed, ruling that the pre-market approval submissions to the FDA for the Talent device showed that although Medtronic Vascular controlled the manufacturing process, another subsidiary, Medtronic Mexico, was responsible for importing the devices into the U.S.

"In summary, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that Medtronic’s PMA submissions support the conclusion that Medtronic Vascular ‘controlled and directed’ Medtronic Mexico’s subassembly manufacturing of the Talent stent graft products," Davis wrote. "However, controlling Federal Circuit precedent discussed earlier makes clear that it is not the manufacturer but the importer who is liable under the statue [sic].

"Thus, if the court is to apply joint infringement or vicarious liability to Section 271(g) infringement, it appears it must also find evidence that Medtronic Vascular or one of the other named defendants, directed or controlled the actual importing activity of Medtronic Mexico. The court finds that the evidence submitted at trial is simply insufficient to support such a conclusion."

In 2009, the companies settled another infringement lawsuit Medtronic filed over patents covering self‐expanding medical devices that use a metal alloy like nitinol that expands to its original shape after deployment.

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