A legal war erupted this week between sleep apnea device makers ResMed (NYSE:RMD) and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZE:FPH), with lawsuits flying in the U.S., Germany, New Zealand and the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging infringement on both sides.
Fisher & Paykel initiated the hostilities with an August 15 lawsuit in a California federal court, alleging that ResMed’s AirSense 10 and AirCurve 10 flow generators, ClimateLineAir heated air tubing and Swift mask line infringe 11 of its patents. The Auckland, N.Z.-based company moved to withdraw that suit the next day, but reserved the right to sue again, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for Central California.
Yesterday ResMed announced a responding barrage, with actions filed in another California federal court, plus Germany, New Zealand and the ITC. The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern California alleges that Fisher & Paykel’s Simplus full face mask, Eson nasal mask and Eson 2 nasal mask infringe 4 of ResMed’s patents and asks the court to invalidate its Down Under rival’s patents, find that it’s not infringing, or both.
San Diego-based ResMed said it’s also seeking an injunction from the ITC banning Fisher & Paykel from importing the allegedly infringing devices and claimed a win in Germany. The Munich District Court there granted ResMed’s bid for a pair of preliminary injunctions stopping the sale of the Simplus, Eson and Eson 2 devices. In New Zealand the company seeks to halt the manufacture and exportation of the devices, ResMed said.
“ResMed’s proprietary designs and superior innovative technologies reflect these priorities.” ResMed global general counsel David Pendarvis said in prepared remarks. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to defend our intellectual property wherever necessary to ensure patients receive the high-quality care they deserve. We are confident that when the courts hear all the evidence, ResMed will prevail on its case and defeat any claims asserted by Fisher & Paykel.”
“We believe we have good and valid defenses to the claims filed by ResMed and we will vigorously contest these claims. We are also confident in our infringement and validity positions with respect to our own patents,” countered F&P CEO Lewis Gradon. “Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has been providing unique solutions for patients suffering from OSA for more than 20 years and we take pride in our proprietary technology, having built a significant patent portfolio over the past 20 years. We also respect the valid intellectual property rights of others, and we are confident in our position with respect to ResMed’s patents given the rigorous clearance we conduct before any product is released to market.”