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12 April 2022MedtechAlex Baldwin

Fed Circ revives claims in St Jude’s catheter patent suit

Abbot-owned St Jude Medical will have to defend claims that its catheters infringe a company’s revived patent.

In a decision handed down Monday, April 11, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision that the majority of claims of Niazi Licensing Corporation’s Catheter patent were invalid.

It was unpersuaded by St Jude’s arguments that the definitions of the terms “resilient” and “pliable” in the written description of claims 1, 10, 13–15, 18–19, and 23–27 were “inconsistent”. Therefore, it reversed the invalidity ruling.

The circuit’s mixed ruling affirmed The US District Court for the District of Minnesota's summary judgment of no induced infringement for claim 11 of the patent.

It also affirmed the district court’s exclusion of portions of expert reports for failure to disclose predicate facts during discovery. Finally, the court approved sanctions on Niazi for violating an order barring it from introducing an “unreliable” expert report in proceedings.

The three-judge panel said: “We conclude that, when read in light of the intrinsic evidence, a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the scope of the claims with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, we reverse that determination and remand for the district court.”

Niazi sued St Jude in 2017, claiming that the company’s catheters infringed US Patent 6,638,268, which covers heart catheter technology.

The Minnesota court ruled that all but one of the asserted claims of the ‘268 patent were invalid as indefinite, stating that the claims did not describe the technology Niazi asserted in proceedings. It also found that St Jude did not induce others to infringe the remaining patent claim.

It excluded portions of expert testimony from two witnesses, Dr Burke and Mr Carlson, because they “relied on facts not disclosed during fact discovery”.

St Jude will now have to defend against the revived patent claims in Minnesota court proceedings.

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