A federal judge last week said a jury will decide whether Glaukos (NYSE:GKOS) tried to hide the role of 1 of the inventors of its eye stent in patent filings, in a lawsuit with rival Transcend Medical.
In 3 decisions issued Sept. 18, Judge Mitchell Goldberg of the U.S. District Court for Delaware ruled that Transcend’s CyPass device does not infringe the Glaukos patents, granted in part and denied in part another Transcend motion for summary judgment on invalidity, and scheduled a trial for Nov. 2 over Transcend’s inequitable conduct claim that Glaukos deliberately tried to obscure the role of a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine in creating its iStent device.
Glaukos allegedly left Dr. Richard Hill’s name off of its patent applications in a bid to avoid paying royalties to the university, according to court documents. Hill’s name was later added to the patents and Glaukos wound up paying UCI $2.7 million plus a 2.5% royalty on iStent sales, according to the documents. Goldberg ruled that there’s enough evidence to “support a finding that intent to deceive is the single most reasonable inference to be drawn at this stage of the proceedings.”
“Therefore, I find that the evidence could support a finding that intent to deceive is the single most reasonable inference to be drawn at this stage of the proceedings. As such, a trial is necessary to resolve disputed issues of material fact, assess the credibility of witnesses and more fully develop the record,” he wrote.
Glaukos said it might appeal and plans a vigorous defense at the inequitable conduct trial. The patents in the case relate only to its iStent Supra device, not the original iStent that won FDA approval in 2012 or the iStent Inject device that’s in U.S. investigational trials.