Medtronic ($MDT) is not the only med tech giant facing patent pushback. In January, Boston Scientific lost a battle in its ongoing patent war with Vascular Solutions when a federal appeals court reaffirmed an injunction issued against sales of Boston Scientific's ($BSX) Guidezilla catheter.
The case dates back to 2013, when Vascular claimed that former employee Sam Rasmussen, a senior product manager, took a similar position at Boston Scientific and helped market the Guidezilla catheter. Vascular filed a patent-infringement suit and in July 2013 requested an injunction against sales of Boston Scientific's device after the Marlborough, MA-based company launched its catheter in the U.S. and Europe.
|Boston Scientific's Guidezilla catheter|
In turn, Boston Scientific requested an interim stay and a stay pending appeal of the injunction from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appeals court shot down Boston Scientific's request for an interim stay but considered the company's motion to stay the injunction.
In September 2014, the company received more bad news on the patent front when a jury in Maryland's Montgomery County Circuit Court ordered Boston Scientific to pay $309 million in royalties and other expenses to Mirowski Family Ventures for infringing on its pacemaker patents.
The courtroom drama stems from an earlier case in which Mirowski accused Boston Scientific and its Guidant subsidiary of striking a secret deal with St. Jude Medical ($STJ) to withhold $570 million in royalties and damages. Boston Scientific/Guidant and Mirowski had sued St. Jude for patent infringement and won a $313 million judgment, but the award was later thrown out after false testimony from a Boston Scientific/Guidant witness was uncovered. St. Jude and Boston Scientific then allegedly made a pact to settle 6 cases and hush up the false testimony, according to Mirowski's suit.
The court's decision to toss out the original judgment ended up costing Boston Scientific/Guidant $377 million and invalidated one of the patents at issue, prompting the company to deny royalties to Mirowski. In September 2013, Boston Scientific moved the case to federal court, but in 2014 the judge remanded the case back to Maryland state court for further examination. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Boston Scientific disagrees with the jury's recent ruling and hopes to overturn the judgment in post-trial proceedings or an appeal.
Court rules Boston Scientific owes inventor of pacemaker $309M
Appeals court reaffirms injunction on Boston Scientific's Guidezilla catheter
Boston Scientific launches catheter as patent suit pends