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31 October 2019EuropeRory O'Neill

EPO upholds validity of eye transplant patent

Lawyers representing Italian medical devices company iVis Technologies have welcomed a decision of the European Patent Office (EPO) to confirm the validity of one of the company’s patents, and are now pressing ahead with infringement claims against a German rival.

Based in Taranto, iVis holds a European patent (number 1 428 470) covering an apparatus used in certain eye tissue transplants.

The device is designed to be used in customised lamellar (involving only selective layers) transplantation of corneal tissue.

Schwind eye-tech-solutions, based in Kleinostheim, Germany, unsuccessfully filed for the invalidation of the patent before the EPO’s opposition division, which upheld the patent in 2015.

Bardehle Pagenberg, which is representing iVis with respect to the patent, announced on Tuesday, October 29 that the EPO’s appeals board had affirmed the decision earlier this month.

“This decision is appealable only based on exceptional grounds,” the firm said.

The Italian medical devices company filed an infringement claim against Schwind in the Mannheim Regional Court after the initial opposition division ruling.

In 2016, the Mannheim court found in favour of iVis, ruling that Schwind had infringed claim 1 of the Italian company’s patent.

Schwind has appealed the decision to the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe. Lawyers for iVis said that a decision is expected in early 2020, and said their client was “confident” of success.

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