Updated August 22, 2011 at 11:45 a.m.
Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) asked a federal court to enforce a ruling against Fresenius Medical Care AG (NYSE:FMS) that awarded Baxter more than $20 million for infringement of a dialysis patent.
"After eight years of litigation that included countless delay tactics by Fresenius to avoid
compensating Baxter for Fresenius’s patent infringement, Baxter can finally enforce this Court’s
judgment for past damages," Baxter’s lawyers wrote in a notice to the court. "Fresenius has avoided its obligation to pay Baxter the past damages award for far too long."
In November 2007, a jury siding with Baxter on the violation of a patent for dialysis machines with touch-screen interfaces awarded $14.3 million in damages, to which a district judge later added nearly $6 million in interest and costs. The award has already accrued about $2.7 million in interest.
The court also granted Baxter a 10 percent royalty on all machines sold before 2009, which could come to a vast sum as Fresenius allegedly sold billion of dollars worth, according to court documents.
Fresenius, which ranked 7th on the MassDevice Big 100 list of the world’s largest medical device companies (Baxter ranked 6th), attempted to take the case before the Supreme Court in April 2010, but was denied twice.
Baxter asked the court to enforce the 2008 ruling and make the judgement, interests and costs orders final so that it can pursue enforcement.
"Fresenius has finally run out of procedural games to avoid payment of the adverse judgment," Baxter’s lawyers wrote.
In a strongly worded riposte emailed to MassDevice, Fresenius said it believes Baxter’s move is “without merit” and will be shot down by the court.
“Baxter’s unusual attempt to try and collect damages before the case is over likely stems from the fact that Baxter’s sole remaining patent, United States No. 5,247,434, (‘the ‘434 patent’) may be cancelled by the United States Patent Office in the near future,” according to the statement, which noted that Baxter is in its fourth round of appeals after USPTO examiners “ruled that the ‘434 patent is invalid and never should have been allowed by the USPTO.”
“Once the district court enters final judgment, Fresenius will be entitled to take a new appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit,” according to the statement. “Fresenius has argued that it is entitled to a new trial on the issue of past damages. While the district court denied that motion, Fresenius intends to appeal that ruling. Baxter should not be entitled to collect any damages unless that process concludes in its favor.”
Pepex Biomedical co-founder indicted in fraud, illegal dispensing case
Dr. Eric Peper, a co-founder of glucose meter-maker Pepex Biomedical in St. Louis, and another physician were indicted August 3 on charges that they ran an illegal narcotics prescription scheme that led to four deaths.
The indictment charges Peper and Dr. Sam Jahani with “health care fraud, money laundering and dispensing controlled substances in which four cases resulted in death,” according to a press release from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Peper worked for Jahani’s medical business in Colorado, Urgent Care Inc., between 2006 and 2010, according to the DEA. The duo allegedly prescribed controlled substances, including the painkillers Oxycodone, Percocet, OxyContin, morphine, methadone, fentanyl, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Ambien and Klonopin, to patients they allegedly knew were addicts.
"As part of the scheme, Jahani and Peper prescribed controlled substances in quantities and dosages that would cause patients to abuse, misuse, and become addicted to the controlled substances. They also allegedly prescribed controlled substances to patients knowing that their patients were addicted to the controlled substances, misusing the controlled substances, or ‘doctor-shopping,’" according to the press release. "They also prescribed controlled substances knowing that their prescribing endangered their patients’ lives, and if taken as directed, their prescriptions would be expected to result in accidental fatal overdoses."
The indictment also charges the pair with health care fraud and money laundering.
The news took Pepex by surprise, acccoring to the St. Louis Business Journal.
"Although Dr. Peper is not an employee and has not been involved with day-to-day operations since 2002, his early work with [Pepex co-founder Adam Heller] remains a ground-breaking contribution to medical diagnostics and a significant part in the development of our platform technology," CFO Joseph Driver said in a prepared statement. "Pepex has never had an involvement with Dr. Peper’s medical practice and is not familiar with any particular terms of employment as a medical practitioner. The only firsthand knowledge of his work is as a research physician and scientist as it relates to Pepex. We were saddened to learn of the events and hopeful of a positive outcome for Dr. Peper and his family."
GE Healthcare, Bio-Rad settle patent spat
GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE) settled a patent infringement lawsuit it filed in Germany last year against Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. (NYSE:BIO) over patents for its surface plasmon resonance technology, used in molecular research.
"GE Healthcare and Bio-Rad have now agreed to settle their dispute and withdraw their claims pursuant to a license granting Bio-Rad access to a collection of GE Healthcare patents," according to a press release.
The patents cover aspects of GE Healthcare’s life science unit’s SPR technology and its Biacore instrument. Bio-Rad’s non-exclusive license gives it the right to incorporate some of those technologies into its own SPR products, according to the release.
Revolutions Medical touts win in case against Globe Medical Tech
Revolutions Medical Corp. (OTC:RMCP) is touting a legal win against Globe Medical Tech, saying it won a summary judgment in an Oklahoma state court.
The District Court of Tulsa County handed down a summary judgment against Globe Medical, according to a press release from Revolutions Medical.
“Since March of 2007 I have been waiting for justice to catch up to Globe Medical Tech. Shareholders have just won a legal victory,” REvMed chairman and CEO Ron Wheet said in prepared remarks.
It’s not the first time Wheet and REvMed have gone th elgal route. Last September he and the company filed a libel suit accusing a blogger of "waging a cyber smear campaign in an effort to destroy RMCP and its corporate management, particularly the company’s chief executive officer, Rondald Wheet," according to a press release.
Endologix Inc. (NSDQ:ELGX) is claiming victory in an early round of a patent battle with Cook Medical over abdominal aortic stent technology.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company said Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana issued a Markman ruling, defining the meanig of patent claim terms, in a lawsuit filed by Cook. The suit alleges that Endolgix violates a pair of Cook patents covering a stent graft and its delviery system via ELGX’s Powerlink and Intuitrak devices.
"Judge Pratt adopted many of Endologix’s proposed constructions for several terms of claims of both asserted patents, including constructions that [Endologix] considers to be important for the outcome of the case," according to a press release.
“We are pleased with the results of the Markman hearing, remain confident in our position going forward and intend to continue to pursue our numerous defenses,” Endologix president and CEO John McDermott said in prepared remarks.
Cook also claimed victory, declaring in an email sent to MassDevice that the court favored its claim constructions over Endologix.
“The majority of constructions adopted by the Judge favored Cook’s proposed constructions,” according to the statement.
“Cook has never wavered in the protection of its extensive patent portfolio,” added general counsel Cynthia Kretz. “We will move forward as swiftly as possible to obtain all available remedies based on Endologix’ infringement of our two patents.”