C.R. Bard loses patent round, $25M hernia insurance decision

C.R. Bard

C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR) revealed a 1-2 punch today when it reported another loss in its patent infringement war with W.L. Gore & Assoc. and an adverse insurance decision that could cost it $25 million.

The Murray Hill, N.J.-based medical device company said in regulatory filings that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued an initial finding in its reexamination of a Bard patent for a "Prosthetic vascular graft," known as the ‘135 patent.

That patent is part of Bard’s long-running patent battle with W.L. Gore & Assoc. over stent grafts, for which it is already on the hook for $186 million. The patent office, as its 1st move in a reexamination of the ‘135 patent, "issued an Office Action initially rejecting the reexamined claims of the ‘135 patent," according to 1 of the filings.

Bard said initial rejection of a patent’s claims is "common during the early stages of the reexamination process."

"During the reexamination process and until final determination, the patent and all claims, including the initially rejected claims, remain valid and enforceable. The company does not believe that this will materially impact the litigation proceedings," Bard said.

In a separate filing, the company said an arbitration panel denied its $25 million insurance claim stemming from lawsuits filed over Bard’s transvaginal mesh products. Last year, the 1st case ended when a jury awarded $5.5 million to a California woman and her husband after ruling that Bard’s Avaulta Plus surgical mesh caused the woman’s injuries.

Today Bard said the arbitration panel’s decision could wind up costing it quite a bit during the 1st quarter.

"In connection with this event, the company will record a non-cash charge of $25 million (pre-tax) in the 1st quarter of 2013 relating to the write-off of a related insurance receivable," according to the 2nd filing.

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