HemCon seeks Chapter 11 after patent judgment appeal loss

Patent fights can be brutal for the biggest life sciences companies. But if you're a smaller operation, like HemCon Medical Technologies, losing can knock you into critical condition.

The Portland, OR, medical device company is filing for Chapter 11 reorganization after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a $34.2 million award for Marine Polymer Technologies. The decision came in a long-standing patent infringement lawsuit the Danvers, MA-based company initially filed in 2006. A federal jury in Concord, NH, found in Marine Polymer's favor in 2010, awarding it $29.4 million, and the case has been in appeal ever since. The Massachusetts company got the extra few million for post-trial damages for infringing sales and prejudgment interest, Mass High Tech noted at the time.

HemCon makes gels and dressings to control bleeding during trauma or surgery. It serves military customers and civilian emergency first responders. Marine Polymer filed a complaint because it said HemCon infringed its patents for biocompatible polymers by using hemostatic bandages with the same components. HemCon said it has reformulated the affected product line, known as HemCon PRO. 

HemCon made the Chapter 11 filing to "maximize the value" of the company and keep things running while it seeks to stabilize its finances, President and CFO Nick Hart said in a statement. Its European subsidiary isn't included in the filing, the company emphasizes, and its overall product sales will continue globally during the reorganization. It's also not giving up on the patent suit; the company plans to file an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling, specifically focused on its 5-5 decision regarding claim construction.

HemCon also continues to shepherd a number of products through clinical trials, the company added.

- here's HemCon's announcement
- here's Marine Polymer's initial release from 2010