Blog Tag: Patent

Intellectual Property Cases Dominate 2016 Verdict Awards

According to the annual Top 100 Verdicts report by ALM’s VerdictSearch, five jury verdicts for Intellectual Property cases cracked the top 10 with a sixth breaking into the top 25 verdicts of 2016. While the amounts do not account for judicial reductions, offsets or appeals, the report indicates that the more than $4.67 billion in total jury awards from the top 6 IP verdicts alone show that intellectual property cases dominated the Top 100 in terms of total dollars awarded.

The publication ranked Idenix‘s $2.54 billion royalty share of Gilead Sciences‘ profits from two blockbuster hepatitis C drugs as the #1 IP verdict and #3 overall on its list of “Top 100 Verdicts of 2016.” According to the report, Idenix successfully asserted that Gilead willfully infringed Idenix’s patents relating to an antiviral compound used in the treatment of hepatitis C, resulting what commentators have stated is the largest patent infringement verdict in U.S. history.

The second highest IP verdict in VerdictSearch’s 2016 list, $940 million (including $700 million in punitive damages), went to medical software company Epic Systems in what commentators have said is one of the largest trade-secrets verdicts on record. According to the report, Epic successfully asserted that Tata misappropriated information related to Epic’s health care software.

The #3 and #4 IP verdicts of 2016 according to VerdictSearch, $625 million and $302 million, respectively, went to technology patent-holder VirnetX for infringement of four of VirnetX’s internet security patents infringement by several Apple products, including iPhones and iPads.

Merck won the 5th largest IP verdict of the year according to VerdictSearch, a $200 million award against Gilead. The report noted that Gilead Sciences v. Merck & Co. involved infringement of different patents relating to the same drug compound as the Idenix case. The case was filed by Gilead as a declaratory judgment action, but Merck & Co. won on its counterclaim.

CardiAQ‘s $70 million win in CardiAQ Valve Technologies, Inc. v. Neovasc Inc. was listed in VerdictSearch as the #6 IP verdict and tied for #21 overall. As noted in a previous post here, according to the report, the jury found that Neovasc breached the non-disclosure agreement between the parties, misappropriated CardiAQ’s trade secrets, and breached its duty of honest performance to CardiAQ.

According to the report, the 11 IP verdicts in the top 100 totaled approximately $4.8 billion, more than a threefold increase from 2015, when the total was $1.43 billion.

 

Spineology Sues Wright Medical Technology

Spineology Sues Wright Medical Technology

Spineology, Inc. sued Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (Wright Medical) in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota .  Spineology’s complaint alleges that Wright Medical’s X-REAM percutaneous expandable reamer infringes one or more claims of U.S. Patent No.  RE42,757 (the ‘757 patent), which is entitled “Expandable Reamer” and was reissued on September 27, 2011.  The suit includes claims for direct, induced, contributory, and willful infringement.

In support of its claim of willful infringement, Spineology alleges that it sold fifty of its own expandable reamers to Wright Medical in 2006, but did not convey any license to the ‘757 patent along with that sale.  The complaint states that Spineology sent a cease-and-desist letter in 2014, which attached the ‘757 patent, requesting that Wright Medical stop selling its X-REAM product because the product was covered by the ‘757 patent.  After Wright Medical continued selling its product, Spineology filed the current suit.

According to its website, Minnesota-based Spineology is focused on developing methods and products that not only treat spinal ailments, but also reduce the invasiveness of spine surgery for patients, aid the surgeon in overcoming the hurdles of minimally invasive surgery, and minimize the burden of healthcare expense.

According to its website, Tennessee-based Wright Medical is a specialty orthopaedic company that provides extremity and biologic solutions that enable clinicians to alleviate pain and restore their patients’ lifestyles.

Wright Medical Technology Files for Inter Partes Review of Orthophoenix Patents

Wright Medical Technology Files for Inter Partes Review of Orthophoenix Patents

On June 6, 2014, Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (“WMT”) filed first and second petitions with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board requesting inter partes review of both U.S. Patent No. 6,440,138 (“the ‘138 Patent”) to Reiley et al., and U.S. Patent No. 6,863,672 (“the ‘672 Patent”) to Reiley et al.  According to the ‘672 Patent’s New Application Transmittal at page 9, the ‘672 Patent is a divisional of  the ‘138 Patent.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assignment database,  the ‘138 and ‘672 Patents were previously assigned to Kyphon Inc., which was acquired by Medtronic in 2007 for $3.9 billion.  The database also includes a recorded assignment, executed on April 25, 2013, from Medtronic, Inc., Kyphon SARL, and Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc. to Orthophoenix, LLC.  Orthophoenix’s signatory was Erich Spangenberg (listed as the CEO). Spangenberg is also the owner and founder of IPNav, according to IPNav’s website. IPNav describes itself as a patent monetization firm.

The ‘138 Patent is entitled “Structures and Methods for Creating Cavities in Interior Body Regions.”  According to the ‘138 Patent, it relates to tools that carry structures that are deployed inside bone and, when manipulated, cut cancellous bone to form a cavity.  Figure 1 of the ‘138 Patent, described as a side view of a rotatable tool having a loop structure capable of forming a cavity in tissue, with the loop structure deployed beyond the associated catheter tube, is shown below left:

The ‘672 Patent is also entitled “Structures and Methods for Creating Cavities in Interior Body Regions.”  According to the ‘672 Patent, it relates to tools that carry structures that are deployed inside bone and, when manipulated, cut cancellous bone to form a cavity.  Figure 27 of the ‘672 Patent, described as a side view of a vertebra with the tool deployed to cut cancellous bone by moving the blade structure in a linear path to form a cavity, is shown below right:

The petition regarding the ‘138 Patent relies on a single prior art reference: U.S. Patent No. 5,015,255 to Kuslich, which the petition alleges was not before the Examiner during prosecution of the ‘138 patent.  The petition seeks review of Claims 1-26 (all claims) of the ‘672 Patent and requests cancellation of each Claim.  By contrast, the petition regarding the ‘672 Patent relies on two separate prior art references: U.S. Patent No. 5,439,464 to Shapiro and U.S. Patent No. 6,371,968 to Kogasaka et al.  The petition alleges that neither prior art reference was before the Examiner during prosecution of the ‘672 Patent.  The petition seeks review of Claims 1-12 (all claims) of the ‘138 Patent and requests cancellation of each Claim.

The petitions disclose that Orthophoenix has sued WMT in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.  Orthophoenix, LLC v. Wright Medical Tech., Inc., Civil Action No. 13-10007-LPS (D. Del.).  Orthophoenix filed its complaint on June 5, 2013 alleging direct and indirect patent infringement of both the ‘138 and ‘672 Patents (the “Patents in Suit”) by WMT. 

Smiths Medical ASD, Inc. Sues Rocket Medical plc on Embryo Replacement Catheter Technology

Smiths Medical ASD, Inc. Sues Rocket Medical plc on Embryo Replacement Catheter Technology

On July 3, 2013, Smiths Medical ASD, Inc. sued Rocket Medical plc in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Smiths Medical’s complaint alleges that Rocket Medical’s embryo replacement catheters infringe U.S. Patent No. 8,092,390 entitled “Medico-Surgical Devices.”

The Abstract of the ‘390 Patent describes a catheter in which “[g]as bubbles of a diameter in the range of 5µ to 10µ are incorporated into the thickness of the wall of the shaft by adding gas during extrusion.  The bubbles are selected to increase the visibility of the catheter under ultrasound imaging whilst still enabling material flowing along the catheter to be seen.”  Figure 2 from the ‘390 Patent is shown below:

Smiths Medical is a division of Smiths Group plc, which is headquartered in London.  According to their website, Smiths Medical supplies a variety of medical devices for hospital and home use.  Rocket Medical is also headquartered in the UK, and according to their website manufactures a range of single use medical devices.  The complaint and patent at issue are available here.

AngleFix Tech, LLC Sues Wright Medical Technology, Inc.

AngleFix Tech, LLC Sues Wright Medical Technology, Inc.

On June 10, 2013, AngleFix Tech, LLC sued Wright Medical Technology, Inc. in the Western District of Tennessee. AngleFix’s complaint alleges that Wright Medical’s plate and screw systems for bone fixation infringe U.S. Patent No. 6,955,677 entitled “Multi-Angular Fastening Apparatus and Method for Surgical Bone Screw/Plate Systems.” The accused systems include the Claw, Claw II, Charlotte Claw, Ortholoc, Ortholoc 3Di, and Ortholoc 3Di2.

The complaint states that the ‘677 Patent was the result of the inventor’s “desire to capture bone fragments during orthopedic surgery that would otherwise evade locking screws set at a single fixed angle.” The Abstract of the ‘677 Patent describes an apparatus including a fastener and a fastener receiving member that “enables the fastener to be affixed to the fastener receiving member at a variable insertion angle selected by the user.” Figure 3 from the ‘677 Patent is shown below:

AngleFix is based in North Carolina and holds an exclusive license to the ‘677 Patent from the University of North Carolina. AngleFix sued NuVasive, Inc. on the same patent in the Southern District of California earlier this year.