Axonics develops the r-SNM sacral neuromodulation system, which it touts as the first of its kind approved for sale in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia and the only SNM device approved for full-body MRI scans without needing the device explanted.
The company is a direct competitor of Medtronic in the SNM field, having rivaled the medtech giant with multiple regulatory nods for its technology, including winning FDA pre-market approval in November for the treatment of overactive bladder and urinary retention, which followed the FDA approval that r-SNM won in September for fecal incontinence.
In November, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) filed a lawsuit against Axonics in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging infringements of four patents for Medtronic’s SNM technologies indicated for bowel and bladder conditions.
Axonics, however, filed seven claims over the ‘069 patent, which concerns charging an implantable medical device having a battery. PTAB determined that “there is a reasonable likelihood that the petitioner would prevail with respect to at least 1 of the claims challenged in the petition,” and instituted an inter partes review related to six of the Axonics claims.
Medtronic today issued a news release announcing a victory in the patent dispute, citing the PTAB decision to reject one of Axonics’ claims to invalidate a Medtronic patent.
PTAB rejected without hearing the challenge to Medtronic’s U.S. Patent No. 9,463,324 (‘324 patent) and found that Axonics’ arguments lack merit, according to the release. The ‘324 patent protects key technology related to implant recharging and temperature control.
In the proceedings to come over the six additional patents that are being disputed, PTAB will hear testimony and argument from both sides.
“Medtronic is pleased with the PTAB’s decision to uphold the most important of the patents challenged,” Medtronic VP and GM of its pelvic health & gastric therapies business Brooke Story said in the release. “Innovation is vital to our business and we will vigorously defend our IP Portfolio in this case.
“Contrary to Axonics’ assertions, the PTAB has not made any final determination that any of Medtronic’s patent claims are invalid. The full IPR process will begin now, and the PTAB will issue a decision within the next 12 months.”