Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) asked the U.S. Supreme Court this month to toss a Maryland state court decision over cardiac rhythm management device patents that awarded more than $309 million to the family of the late physician who helped invent the implantable cardioverter defibrillator, Dr. Michel Mirowski.
Marlborough, Mass.-based Boston Scientific lost the judgment in September 2014, part of a long-running patent war with Mirowski Family Ventures. A jury in Maryland’s Montgomery County Circuit Court awarded the damages to the family (Mirowski died in 1990), which originally sued Boston Scientific and its Guidant subsidiary over a secret deal with rival St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ). The family alleged that the deal cut Mirowski out of some $570 million in potential royalties and damages. The jury awarded MFV more than $86.5 million in damages “for royalties owed for 2002 and 2003;” another $142.6 million in damages for “the financial harm in the Indiana lawsuit;” and $80.2 million and pre-judgment interest “in connection with the defendants’ settlement with St. Jude,” according to court documents.
In its Oct. 7 petition for certiorari from the Supremes, Boston Scientific argued that the Maryland state court overlooked basic patent law requirements that the high court should review in light of its 2013 decision in another case.
“This court stated in Gunn v. Minton that state courts resolving state-law claims that implicate patent-law questions ‘can be expected to hew closely to the pertinent federal precedents.’ The court below ignored that command,” Boston Scientific wrote in the petition. “It failed to carry out the basic duty of claim construction, instead leaving the jury to determine the scope of the patent’s claims. This failure, in turn, infected both the jury’s verdict as to MFV’s claim for additional royalties and its decision to MFV’s improper settlement claim. And the court disposed of questions of substantive patent law in a manner plainly inconsistent with well-established patent precedents. The egregious departures from federal patent law in the decision below warrant this court’s review.”
The Mirowski family filed suit in February 2013 in the Maryland state court, where the case was litigated until Boston Scientific won its bid to remove the case to federal court in September of that year, according to court documents. In June Judge William Quarles Jr. of the U.S. District Court for Maryland found that Boston Scientific’s removal of the case to the federal court was untimely, according to court documents, remanding the case back to the Maryland state court.