A federal appeals court this week shut down Zoll Medical‘s bid to force the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to review 8 patents owned by Philips Healthcare (NYSE:PHG), ruling that it lacks the authority to overturn the patent office’s decisions on whether to grant a review and granting Philips’ motion for dismissal.
Zoll and Philips have battled for years in the courts over their respective automated external defibrillator technology. This case began when Philips sued Zoll in 2010, according to court documents, alleging infringement of 6 AED patents (a later suit, filed by Philips in 2012, claimed infringement of those patents plus another 2 not named in the original lawsuit).
In 2013 Zoll asked the patent board for inter partes review of the 8 patents, hoping for invalidity rulings. But the patent office demurred, prompting Zoll to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to compel the patent office to grant its request for review.
Citing its own precedent earlier this year in another fractious patent war between St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) and Volcano (NSDQ:VOLC), the Federal Circuit ruled August 25 that it lacks the authority to hear appeals of the patent board’s inter partes decisions.
In fact, wrote Judge Kathleen O’Malley, the relevant statute "’contains a broadly worded bar on appeal’ from such decisions."
Earlier this month, the Federal Circuit granted the companies’ joint motion to dismiss another lawsuit involving their AED technology.