St. Jude’s AGA Medical subsidiary has filed two new lawsuits against an European company that it has been tussling with since 2006.
The Little Canada, Minn.-based medical device conglomerate announced Thursday that it filed lawsuits against Occlutech, which develops cardiac occlusion devices and other vascular implants, in a German and U.K. court.
The patent infringement lawsuits allege that Occlutech’s atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure/occlusion devices violate patents used in St. Jude Medical’s Amplatzer occlusion device platform.
"St. Jude Medical has made significant investments in the structural heart space," said Frank Callaghan, president of the St. Jude Medical Cardiovascular Division, in a news release. "St. Jude Medical values the innovations we bring to the industry and will closely protect our intellectual property so we can continue to bring leading-edge products to the healthcare professionals we serve worldwide."
But it appears that previous lawsuits brought by AGA Medical ultimately favored Occlutech. Just last month, Occlutech announced that the German Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the company as did an appeals court in the U.K. in mid-2010. The company’s website notes that other courts in Spain and in the Netherlands, including The Hague, also ruled in its favor.
Yet, the victories have taken a toll on the company. In 2010, when announcing victory in a Dutch court, Occlutech noted that the wrangling with AGA Medical had resulted in lost revenue and its products being destroyed. The company said it "suffered the cost of litigation leading to potential damage claims in excess of EUR 50 million." That’s roughly $66 million according to 2010 average exchange rates.
"In spite of the significant cost caused by the litigation and the related lack of sales in several markets, Occlutech’s owners have funded work in maintaining and substantially strengthening Occlutech’s own patent position and on a full pipeline of new technologies and products," the company said in the October 2010 statement.
The Amplatzer platform provides minimally invasive transcatheter treatments to safely close structural heart defects. St. Jude Medical bought AGA Medical in November for more than $1 billion.