Baxter dialysis IP battle headed for the Supreme Court? | Legal News


 Baxter hemodialysis intellectual property spat may head to the Supreme Court

A years-long intellectual property lawsuit between Baxter (NYSE:BAX) and Fresenius (NYSE:FMS) may be headed to the Supreme Court over questions about the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s authority to declare a patent invalid against the ruling of a Federal Circuit judge.

The patent spat has volleyed in each party’s favor, but now hinges on a decision reached by the USPTO in Fresenius’ favor, which reversed a Federal Circuit ruling in Baxter’s favor.  

Fresenius in 2007 filed a lawsuit alleging that some of Baxter’s patent claims for dialysis machines and their user interfaces were "obvious" at the time of construction.

A jury ruled in Fresenius’ favor that the Baxter’s claims were obvious and thus invalid, but a District Court judge overruled, finding that Fresenius hadn’t presented enough evidence. A Federal Circuit court later reaffirmed the decision in Baxter’s favor after Fresenius repealed the lower court’s decision.

In conjunction with the patent lawsuit, however, Fresenius had filed a challenge with the USPTO against the same claims and patent art used in the courts. An initial examination by the USPTO deemed Baxter’s patents obvious prior to the Federal Court’s decision.

A USPTO director ordered the agency’s ruling board to take into consideration the Baxter’s court win when making the final decision on the obviousness of the claims, and the board ruled against Baxter. The board wrote that the court’s decision did not deem Baxter’s patent claims valid, but had merely demonstrated that they had not been found invalid.

The federal court later agreed to uphold the USPTO’s decision to strike down certain of Baxter’s patents, despite having found in their favor originally, on the grounds that the USPTO has a different standard of evidence than does the court.

The case is likely to make it’s way to the Supreme Court through continued appeals, according to
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Sunnyvale, Calif.-based artificial spinal disc maker Spinal Kinetics announced a patent litigation win in a suit brought by Synthes Inc. over claims involving discs designed to provide an alternative to spinal fusion surgery while preventing degeneration in adjacent discs.

A German District Court this week dismissed Synthes claims of patent infringement on one of Spinal Kinetics’ disc models, reiterating a similar decision made in a U.S. Federal District Court in December.

In the December trial, a jury found that Spinal Kinetics did not infringe on Synthes’ patent, which the jury deemed invalid.
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A patent lawsuit nearly 3 years in the making between Endologix (NSDQ:ELGX) and Cook Medical is set to go to trial in October, according to regulatory filings.

Cook filed the original lawsuit in October 2009 over alleged infringement of its abdominal aortic stent technology. Both companies called an early victory last August in a pre-trial round of arguments.
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