Showing all posts written by Ron Ro

Ron Ro

B. Braun Executive Urges Medical Device Tax Repeal

The Morning Call reports that an executive from B. Braun Medical Inc. has urged federal lawmakers to undo a tax on medical devices.  According to the report, Bruce Heugel, the chief financial officer of B. Braun, recently appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Health Care, and testified during a hearing to request repeal of the medical device tax.

The hearing, titled “A Fresh Look at the Impact of the Medical Device Tax on Jobs, Innovation, and Patients,” addressed the possibility of a tax repeal which has enjoyed support in the House and Senate.  During the hearing, Heugel stated that the tax has reduced industry profits by 29 percent, which means that companies have fewer dollars available to reinvest in new products:

We have a responsibility to our employees, shareholders and community not to end up like Bethlehem Steel,” Heugel said. “So when the new medical device tax takes away $33 million through 2015, we are forced to launch painful counter-measures.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D. Michigan), the sole Democrat at the hearing, asked how the device tax could be repealed in a way that would not add to the federal deficit.  According to the report, Heugel responded that the Affordable Care Act has provided more care, and that the companies providing that care already are being taxed, creating more tax revenue.

Mayo Clinic and Gentag, Inc. To Develop Wireless Sensors for Treatment of Obesity and Diabetes

Mayo Clinic and Gentag, Inc. have reached a joint intellectual property (IP) agreement to develop wearable biosensors designed to fight obesity and diabetes.  According to the press release, the agreement will allow certain patent rights and technologies of both Mayo Clinic and Gentag to be combined and commercialized.

The press release indicates that the two firms will also license third parties to combine Mayo Clinic’s clinical expertise with Gentag’s wearable skin patch technologies, and that more than 50 issued patents and technologies are being offered for licensing under the agreement.

The press release states that wearable patch sensors may be a “game-changer;”  the wearable patch sensors are the size of a small bandage, and include a sensor that communicates via a diabetes management system compatible with cell phones; and the system will allow researchers to monitor movement and develop treatments.

Additionally, the press release notes that Mayo’s Micro-Miniature Transceiver chip will be integrated with Gentag’s radar-responsive tag technology and integrated under the new license to develop a new type of communication chip that will combine Near Field Communication (NFC), Body Area Networks (BAN), as well as long-range wireless communication and geolocation.

The press release is available here.

Final Decision in NuVasive’s Inter Partes Review of Warsaw Orthopedic Patent

The Patent Trial and Appeals Board (the “Board”) recently issued Final Written Decisions disposing of two inter partes reviews that NuVasive filed in mid-2013 regarding U.S. patent number 8,444,696 (the ’696 Patent). The ’696 Patent is entitled “Anatomic spinal implant having anatomic bearing surfaces” and, according to its abstract, “is directed to an interbody spinal implant having a structural configuration that provides for maintaining the normal anatomic relationship of two adjacent vertebrae of the spine.” According to the USPTO Assignment Database, the patent application that later became the ’696 patent was assigned on May 17, 2005 by its inventor to SDGI Holdings, Inc., then was assigned on April 28, 2006 by SDGI Holdings, Inc. to Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc.

In its recent Final Written Decision disposing of IPR2013-00395, the Board determined that NuVasive showed by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 1–6 of the ’696 Patent are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) as obvious over the combination of three references, Michelson, Wagner, and Brantigan. In its recent Final Written Decision disposing of IPR2013-00396, the Board determined that NuVasive showed by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 7-12 of the ’696 Patent are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) as obvious over a different combination of three references, including Steffee, Michelson, and Kim.

On August 17, 2012, Warsaw Orthopedic, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Medtronic Puerto Rico, and Osteotech filed a complaint against NuVasive alleging infringement of U.S. patents numbers 8,021,430 and 5,676,146. In its two petitions for inter partes review, NuVasive stated that Warsaw Orthopedic asked the Court for permission to add the ’696 patent to the lawsuit. On July 24, 2013 Warsaw’s request was granted.