A ban on U.S. sales of the Guidezilla catheter made by Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) will stand, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Vascular Solutions (NSDQ:VASC).
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, alleges that Boston Scientific’s Guidezilla catheter "is a copy of VSI’s GuideLiner catheter. Guidezilla’s design, materials, and dimensions are materially the same as those of GuideLiner and those described and claimed in the patents-in-suit," according to court documents.
Minneapolis-based Vascular Solutions in July 2013 asked Judge John Tunheim to grant an injunction blocking its larger rival from "making, using, offering for sale, or selling Boston Scientific’s Guidezilla guide extension catheter, or any other guide extension catheter" that allegedly infringes the patents, according to court documents. Boston Scientific filed a sealed motion opposing the injunction bid, according to the documents. Tunheim granted the injunction Dec. 10.
Boston Scientific appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, asking for an interim stay and a stay pending appeal of the injunction. The appeals court shot down the bid for an interim stay, but ruled that the motion for a stay pending appeal "shall be considered in due course," court records show.
Boston Scientific launched the Guidezilla catheter in July 2013 in the U.S. and Europe, despite the Vascular Solutions lawsuit. When the injunction went into effect, a Boston Scientific spokesman told MassDevice.com that the company plans to abide by the ruling in an emailed statement.
“However, we believe the Guidezilla Guide Extension Catheter does not infringe on any existing patents and we intend to vigorously defend our position through the appropriate legal processes,” Boston Scientific said.
"Boston Scientific’s Guidezilla is 1 of the most blatant plagiarisms of a patented medical device that I have ever encountered," Vascular Solutions CEO Howard Root said back in May. "Virtually every substantive aspect of our GuideLiner product and patents, from the design to the dimensions to even the exact words used in the product’s deployment instructions, has been misappropriated by Boston Scientific and applied to their Guidezilla catheter. We do not take the initiation of patent litigation lightly, but this is exactly the type of conduct that patents were intended to protect – a small medical device company creating a completely new and innovative product only to be flagrantly violated by a knock-off brazenly marketed by the world’s largest interventional cardiology company. We intend to move quickly to stop this violation of our rights."
The lawsuit alleges infringement of 3 VSI patents, all for "Coaxial Guide Catheter for Interventional Cardiology Procedures." It accuses a former VSI employee named Sam Rasmussen, a senior product manager, of taking the same job with Boston Scientific, where he is "responsible for providing marketing leadership for the launch of the Guidezilla catheter," the lawsuit alleges.
"On March 21, 2013, Rasmussen contacted VSI’s sales representative for the Minnesota territory, Matt Nigon, wanting to discuss the GuideLiner catheter. Rasmussen asked Nigon about the market size and pricing for the GuideLiner catheter," according to the lawsuit.