C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR) today announced that it won a favorable ruling from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, which notified the medical device maker that it intends to uphold the patentability of the stent-graft patent at the heart of a long-running infringement lawsuit with W.L. Gore & Assoc.
The USPTO announcement won some favor from Wall Street analysts and was followed by a 0.8% increase in BCR shares, which were trading at $110.31 as of about 1:35 p.m. today. Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis today reiterated an "underweight" rating on Bard in light of the ruling.
"USPTO rules in favor of Bard and increases odds of a near-term receipt of awards," according to the Morgan Stanley report. "Gore has been arguing that there is no final judgment in the patent infringement suit with Bard as (i) the willfulness issue is still in dispute and (ii) the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was re-examining the validity of the disputed patent. Today’s announcement looks to remove the later point and makes it incrementally more likely for Bard to receive the Gore windfall (less the willfulness penalties) in the near-term."
The announcement comes just months after the USPTO conducted an initial review of Bard’s prosthetic vascular graft patent and found it wanting. The patent office, as its 1st move in a reexamination of the patent, "issued an Office Action initially rejecting the reexamined claims of the ‘135 patent," according to an earlier Bard SEC filing. Bard noted that initial rejections are part and parcel of the reexamination process.