OrbusNeich Medical Inc. hailed the decision of a Dutch court in its ongoing stent patent spat with Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX).
The District Court of The Hague, Netherlands ruled that Boston Scientific’s lawsuit accusing Orbus of infringing a Boston Scientific patent with its Evolution 2 catheter could not proceed, according to Orbus.
The court ruled that Boston Scientific’s patent for its “balloon catheter with distal guide wire lumen” had been revoked in the Netherlands “for lack of inventive step in a previous decision of the court in a case” against Medinol Ltd. in September 2003, according to the company. Boston Scientific filed its lawsuit against Orbus for alleged patent infringement in the Netherlands in Nov. 2009. The latest ruling means that, in the eyes of the Dutch court, the patent owned by the Natick, Mass.-based device giant was not valid when it was filed.
Boston Scientific settled litigation with Israel-based Medinol over intellectual property theft and contractual obligations in 2005.
Hong Kong-based Orbus, which has its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., called Boston Scientific’s lawsuit is “retaliatory” and said, “we believe their case is without merit and, consistent with their past business practices, is simply an effort to wear down OrbusNeich by forcing [it] to spend significant time, money and resources in defending the case. Further, we see this as an attempt to distract the marketplace from OrbusNeich’s pending patent infringement and theft of trade secret case against Boston Scientific in the United States,” in prepared remarks.
The U.S. lawsuit, originally filed by Orbus in March 2009 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia, alleges that Boston Scientific stole designs for luminal stent technology it later incorporated into its Liberté and Taxus Liberté products. The company accuses Boston Scientific of patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets connected to the stents.
In April, OrbusNeich won a stent patent from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and promptly moved to amend the infringement lawsuit against Boston Scientific. The filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts to expand the lawsuit to cover the new IP.
The USPTO granted Orbus a patent covering a “Stent with Helical Elements,” according to a press release. The patent, granted March 23, covers an expandable stent with “a plurality of helical segments,” according to the release.
The roots of that case go back to 2000, when the companies began negotiating a potential relationship. As part of the negotiation, Orbus sent stent samples and designs to BSX ahead of filing patent applications covering the technology, applications that were later granted.
Boston Scientific filed its own patent application, according to the lawsuit, which contained new stent designs that were not included in any of the company’s provisional filings for the technology. Orbus only became aware of the alleged theft after the Liberté stent hit the market.
The Hong Kong firm claims it designed “major aspects of the Liberté product architecture” and is seeking unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief.
A phone call and email to Boston Scientific were not returned.
Orbus said it expects Boston Scientific to appeal the Dutch court’s decision.