Medtronic Sues Guidant In Ireland
Alleges patent infringement by Vision® and Xience™ stents; seeks damages and injunction
MINNEAPOLIS – March 28, 2006 – Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) today announced that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Guidant Corporation in the High Court in Dublin, Ireland. The lawsuit alleges that the Guidant MULTI-LINK Vision® and Xience™ V coronary stents infringe patents under exclusive worldwide license to Medtronic Vascular from evYsio Medical Devices, a private Canadian company. Guidant manufactures the affected stent products in Ireland and the United States. Medtronic is seeking monetary damages and an injunction against the Vision and Xience stents.
The action in Ireland is one of four patent infringement actions against Guidant products involving the evYsio patents. On February 15, 2006, Medtronic filed a patent infringement case against Guidant in United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Guidant’s Vision stent and certain Guidant catheter systems infringe the evYsio stent design patents and Medtronic’s Fitzmaurice patents. The Fitzmaurice patents relate to a unique, tapered design feature of Medtronic coronary and peripheral catheters.
evYsio also filed patent infringement cases against Guidant in France in 2001 and 2003, resulting in a ruling on December 17, 2004 against the Guidant Vision stent. Finding that the Vision stent likely infringed the evYsio patent and that the evYsio patent was likely valid, the French court ordered Guidant to post a warranty of €800,000 to avoid an injunction against the sales of Vision in France. On March 3, 2006, the validity of evYsio’s European patent was affirmed by the European Patent Office during an opposition hearing initiated by Guidant, and evYsio continues to independently pursue its two suits against Guidant in the French courts. In addition to Ireland, France and the United States, the evYsio patents are registered in several other countries.
Medtronic’s lawsuits against Guidant in the United States and Ireland follow other significant legal developments involving Medtronic’s vascular business. On March 23, Medtronic announced a positive arbitration panel ruling obtained against Johnson and Johnson/Cordis. On March 1, Medtronic filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Boston Scientific, alleging that the TAXUS® Paclitaxel-eluting coronary stent system infringes Medtronic’s Fitzmaurice and Anderson patents. The Anderson patents cover a method of manufacturing balloon catheters used in stent delivery. In addition, on February 14 the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Medtronic’s Request for Reexamination for each of the four Guidant Lau patents on which Guidant has sued Medtronic for infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Finding that “substantial questions exist” regarding the validity of the Lau patent claims in view of prior art submitted by Medtronic with the Request for Reexamination, the USPTO will now reconsider whether the Lau patents should have been granted in the first instance, though the timing of such reexamination is not known.
“We value the strength of our intellectual property portfolio and we will continue to pursue legal actions against products that we believe infringe our patents, such as the Guidant Vision and Xience stents and the Boston Scientific Taxus stent,” said Scott Ward, Medtronic senior vice president and president of Medtronic Vascular, Santa Rosa, Calif. “Because of the industry’s intensely competitive environment, we will be tenacious in protecting and enforcing our patent rights. Our strong preference is to resolve these matters without litigation. However, if that is not possible, then we are prepared to assert our rights in court.”
Medtronic, Inc. (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world.
This press release contains forward-looking statements described in Medtronic’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended January 27, 2006. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results. Medtronic does not undertake to update its forward-looking statement.
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