The latest in a series of lawsuits between Applied Medical Resources Corp. and Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) is slated to go before a jury later this month, after a federal judge in Texas denied AMR’s motion for summary judgment in the case.
The lawsuits, which concern surgical trocars, have already cost Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based Applied $5 million. The latest case is the second part of two related lawsuits, brought after Applied brought modified trocars to the market that Covidien alleges violate intellectual property it owns, the so-called "Smith patents."
Applied had asked Judge Keith Giblin of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas for a summary judgment of non-infringement. But Giblin disagreed, denying the motion and sending the case to trial later in September, according to court documents.
"Based on a careful and thorough review of the record and the arguments presented, the court is persuaded that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the accused product infringes the asserted claims of the Smith patents," Giblin wrote. "Therefore, the court will deny Applied’s motion for summary judgment."
It’s only the latest round in the trocar patent war the two companies are waging. In June, Covidien counter-sued Applied for patent misuse, non-infringement and invalidity, two weeks after AMR filed its fifth lawsuit over surgical trocars.
In May, Applied sued over a recently re-issued trocar patent. In its counter-suit, Covidien denies the patent infringement claim, according to a press release.
“The reissue patent is based on U.S. Patent 5,407,433 which was previously invalidated when a federal court granted a motion for summary judgment by a Covidien affiliate,” according to the release. “This is the fifth time since 2003 that Applied has alleged patent infringement against a Covidien trocar product. Covidien has won the previous four cases. During that time, Covidien also won a jury verdict against Applied, finding that certain of Applied’s Kii and Universal trocars infringed a Covidien patent.”
Last year, a federal judge ruled in favor of a Covidien patent infringement lawsuit, costing Applied Medical $4.8 million. That suit also involved a trocar, a device used for withdrawing fluids from a body cavity.