St. Jude Medical, now part of Abbott, has won a patent dispute over the method for using a double catheter in heart failure patients.
Niazi Licensing’s patent, issued in 2003 for the double catheter system, describes it as better suited for “use in the coronary sinus, especially in patients suffering from congestive heart failure,” according to the order issued this week by a federal court judge in Minnesota.
The ’268 patent also describes the system as an “outer, resilient catheter having shape memory and a hook-shaped distal end” and an “inner, pliable catheter slidably disposed in the outer catheter.” The patent also claims methods of using the catheter system.
Niazi sued St. Jude in 2017, claiming that the company, acquired by Abbott in 2017, indirectly infringed the ’268 patent by inducing medical professionals to infringe it.
The court ordered in October 2019 that the patent is infringed only when the steps for using the catheter system are performed in the order listed in the patent. Both sides asked for summary judgment, which U.S. District Court Judge Wilhelmina Wright granted to St. Jude, saying that the company’s written instructions for the double catheter “do not encourage, recommend, or promote infringement for at least three reasons.”
St. Jude’s instructions substantively differ from steps of the patented method in several ways, Wright said, including the absence of any direction to insert or withdraw the inner and outer catheters simultaneously and the absence of any direction to advance an inner catheter out the front end of an outer catheter along a guidewire.
Wright also found no evidence that St. Jude instructed its customers to perform those steps in the precise order listed in the patent, adding that several steps in St. Jude’s written instructions are optional.
“A patentee cannot demonstrate that a defendant specifically intended to induce infringement based solely on a defendant’s instructions if those instructions expressly describe as optional the performance of a step that is necessary to infringe the patented method,” Wright said.