News | May 04, 2010

Companies Continue Court Fight Over Hemostatic Compound

May 4, 2010 – The U.S. District Court in New Hampshire is being asked this week to review and reverse a jury verdict on patent litigation involving two companies with competing hemostasis management technology used in the cath lab.

A jury awarded damages of $29.4 million against HemCon Medical Technologies Inc. for infringing a patent held by Marine Polymer Technologies Inc. HemCon is asking the court to review the validity of the patent and reverse the damage award.

HemCon has also initiated a proceeding to re-examine the validity of the patent through the U.S. Patent Office. In 2009, the company filed a request with the Patent Office to re-examine, and possibly invalidate or limit, Marine Polymer’s patent in light of prior publications about chitosan. The Patent Office granted the request for re-examination in November 2009. On April 1, the Patent Office issued a formal first office action, rejecting all claims of Marine Polymer’s patent. This indicates the Patent Office’s willingness to allow the claims of the patent, if Marine Polymer would limit them to micro algae. Marine Polymer’s response to the first office action is due June 1.

In 2006, Marine Polymer filed a lawsuit against HemCon, alleging it violated a patent covering a chitosan compound. However, HemCon said Marine Polymer holds a patent describing a chitosan compound that is derived only from the sterile culturing of marine micro algae. HemCon uses chitosan derived from shells of shrimp caught in the open ocean.

"The jury’s decision would allow the patent to cover shrimp-based chitosan compounds that were publicly disclosed by others well before the patent application was filed,” said John Morgan, HemCon's President and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe the jury’s decision is wrong and will ask the court to review and reverse it."

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