Threatened with a patent infringement lawsuit if it didn’t agree to a licensing deal with Maquet, Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD) responded by asking a Massachusetts judge for a judgment of non-infringement last May.
Maquet, a division of Getinge (PINK:GETI B), sent a letter to Danvers, Mass.-based Abiomed in December 2015, alleging infringement of a trio of patents by the Impella line of transcatheter heart pumps and seeking a licensing deal – and threatening a patent infringement action in the alternative.
“We understand that Abiomed’s marketing efforts have targeted Maquet’s products as competing devices. Maquet has not been required to mark the patent information on its products because they are different from the patent claims. Thus, in the event of an infringement dispute Maquet could seek lost profits damages for up to the past 6 years, plus injunctive relief requiring Abiomed to stop making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing its Impella products for the remaining patent term,” Maquet Cardiovascular managing director Ajey Atre wrote in a Dec. 15, 2015, letter. “A preliminary draft of a complaint for patent infringement is attached. Notwithstanding the foregoing facts, Maquet is willing to discuss entering into an agreement with Abiomed for a license to some or all of the Maquet patent portfolio. Please consider this letter as an invitation to discuss reasonable terms of a business arrangement that we hope would be attractive to both Maquet and Abiomed.”
In a Jan. 19 response, a lawyer for Abiomed said the Maquet patent claims were “devoid of any merit” and denied any infringement.
“Indeed, not only are Maquet’s patents not infringed by Abiomed or its Impella products, the asserted claims of those patents are invalid and unenforceable, as set forth in detail below. Clearly, Maquet failed to perform an adequate and appropriate investigation before lobbing its irresponsible claims of infringement at Abiomed,” attorney Richard McCaulley Jr. wrote. “Abiomed has deep respect for patent rights, but it will not take a license to patents that it does not use, that are invalid and cover only technology that Abiomed developed first, and that are unenforceable. We trust this letter resolves any questions or concerns Maquet has with respect to Abiomed’s Impella products.”
“Maquet is confident that its patent rights are valid and enforceable, that Abiomed infringes, and that Abiomed should seek a license from Maquet. At this time, Maquet remains open to a discussion with Abiomed for the purpose of finding a reasonable business solution to this dispute. Please advise by close of business on Friday, May 20, 2016 if Abiomed is interested in meeting to try to resolve this matter without litigation,” came the May 3 response from Maquet lawyer Michael Connor.
Abiomed filed its lawsuit May 19 in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, asking Judge Dennis Saylor to rule that it’s not infringing any of the patents.
“To resolve the legal and factual questions raised by Abiomed and to afford relief from uncertainty and controversy which Maquet’s accusations have precipitated, Abiomed is entitled to a declaratory judgment that Abiomed has not infringed, and is not infringing, any claim” of any of the 3 patents, Abiomed claimed the complaint.