ResMed sues Chinese medical device maker for patent infringement in the U.S.

ResMed CEO Michael Farrell

Respiratory and sleep breathing player ResMed ($RMD) has filed a patent suit against Chinese medical device manufacturer BMC Medical and 3B Products, its U.S. distributor. The San Diego-based company alleges that both of BMC's flow generator products violate ResMed patents.

ResMed has filed a legal action in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt the alleged patent infringement. It has also filed a lawsuit in San Diego federal court seeking damages. The company said it had already received backing from the United States Patent and Trademark Office with a final rejection of challenges by BMC and 3B.

"ResMed built its market leadership by investing in superior technology for sleep-disordered breathing therapy," said ResMed global general counsel and chief administrative officer David Pendarvis in a statement. "The proprietary technology in our flow generators and humidifiers makes them comfortable and user-friendly."

It said that BMS flow generator products, the RESmart and the Luna, infringe a design patent for a flow generator and a humidifier that reduces the risk that water from the humidifier will spill into the flow generator when the device is tipped. In addition, it's asserting three additional patents in the ITC case.

ResMed is asking the international agency to stop BMC and 3B from importing and selling their flow generators in the United States.

Last year, ResMed acquired Curative Medical, a private company that makes noninvasive ventilation and sleep-disordered breathing devices, for an undisclosed sum. It expects that the company will help better position it to sell into the Chinese market.

After highlighting its expansion into healthcare informatics, ResMed CEO Mick Farrell noted on the company's January earnings call that geographic expansion, with China at its core, is key to revenue growth.

"Our second enabler is our investment and expansion in high growth geographies," he said. "Our investment in Curative last quarter is an example of this strategy in action. Curative allows us to have products developed in China, made in China for sale in China. It opens up channels that just weren't available for imported products."

- here is the release