Live By The Patent, Die By The Patent: Extreme Patent Aggressor Medtronic Loses Patent Lawsuit

from the schadenfreude dept

It's always slightly amusing to watch extreme patent aggressors get hoisted by their own petard and lose a patent lawsuit. Medical device maker, Medtronic, is somewhat famous for its aggressive pursuit of patent infringement claims against others. In one case, a few years ago, a judge overturned a ruling that Medtronic had actually won and then scolded the company's lawyers, noting that their "conduct was in disregard for the duty of candor, reflecting an attitude of 'what can I get away with?'" The judge also noted that they knew "with full awareness that their case was without merit" yet they pressed ahead and "created an illusion of infringement." And this wasn't a one off. Just a few weeks later, in a totally different patent lawsuit a completely different judge scolded another set of Medtronic lawyers for doing essentially the same thing.

So it's difficult to get to worked up in hearing that Medtronic is getting a taste of its own medicine, losing an appeal in a case brought against it by Edwards Lifescience, saying that Medtronic needs to pay $74 million. The appeals court also sent it back to the lower court to see if there needs to be an injunction issued.


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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    petard hoisting

    It's always slightly amusing to watch extreme patent aggressors get hoisted by their own petard and lose a patent lawsuit.


    If by petard you mean their "puny man parts" and by hoisted you mean "chopped off", then I think it sounds pretty fair.

     

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      Bill W (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

      Re: petard hoisting

      Would that others could get the news that this is not acceptable.

      Too soon I'm afraid. We have several years of this craziness before sanity prevails ... patience Grasshopper.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2012 @ 9:12pm

    It seems that in taking satisfaction Medtronic has lost a lawsuit, you have overlooked that the other party, the patentee, had his/her patent deemed valid and infringed (a patent, btw, that I understand has been deemed non-infringed in two related foreign lawsuits). It also seems worth noting that the claimed invention was previously reduced to practice, but only for use in pigs...and even then the decision notes that none of the test animals survived for more than a few hours. I have to wonder under these facts if the patent truly provides an enabling disclosure under Section 112.

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 4:53am

    In a perfect scenario the patent system would provide additional incentive for inventors, innovators and ideasmen to create, but it's become just another excuse for capitalists and trolls to go at each other's throats. It's difficult to make the case that encouraging people to sue one another is evidence of a healthy, vibrant patent system.

     

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Nov 15th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    When somebody finally cures diabetes I'm sure they'll have to fend off a lawsuit from Medtronic before they can release the cure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Taint

    This saddens me. As an insulin dependent diabetic who has used various insulin pumps from Medtronic and their competitors over the course of seventeen years, I can say with some authority that they're the best in this particular market.

    I'd been unaware of Medtronic's propensity to abuse the patent system until this juncture and it certainly gives me pause. It pains me that their corporate ethos is dedicated to frivolous litigious shenanigans as opposed to investing in research and development. It seems like this will inevitably diminish build quality. Moreover, it's certainly not the kind of corporate behavior I want to endorse through the purchase of their products.

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Nov 15th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Medtronic is also one of the companies who's stated that they'll be "forced" to fire employees because of the ACA.

    Of course, it's not because of employee ACA costs, but because rising profits on medical devices and pharmaceuticals are one of the things controlled by the ACA.

     

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