Patent Law - No Infringement for Extraterritorial Completion of Method Patents - Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. V. St. Jude Medical, Inc. by Suffolk Transnational Law Review

Patent Law - No Infringement for Extraterritorial Completion of Method Patents - Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. V. St. Jude Medical, Inc.

By Suffolk Transnational Law Review

  • Publication Date: 2010-09-22
  • Genre: Law

Book Synopsis

U.S. patent law generally grants the patentee the right during the patent term to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention within the boundaries of the United States. (1) An exception to the general grant, section 271(f) of the Patent Act extends a patentee's rights extraterritorially allowing inventors to seek infringement damages against anyone who supplies "all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention" from the United States to a foreign country for assembly. (2) In Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. v. St. Jude Medical Inc., (3) the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit considered en banc whether section 271(f) applied to method claims. (4) The Federal Circuit held that method claims were not within the scope of section 271(f) and limited infringement damages to implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) used in the patented method sold within the United States. (5) The long and complex patent litigation began when Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. (Cardiac) filed suit against St. Jude Medical, Inc. (St. Jude) on November 26, 1996 alleging that St. Jude infringed several of Cardiac's ICD product and method patents in the United States and abroad. (6) Cardiac sought damages for the manufacture and sale of ICDs directly infringing any product patents, the sale of ICDs with programming capable of performing Cardiac's method claims, and the sale of ICDs that actually performed the method steps. (7) After a 2001 trial and subsequent appeal, Cardiac's only claim left in dispute was from U.S. Patent No. 4,407,288 ('288 patent), claiming a method of heart stimulation that detects and treats heart arrhythmias through either single or multimode operation with cardioversion. (8) The alleged infringement specific to the '288 patent concerned St. Jude selling ICDs to doctors that were programmed to a noninfringing defibrillation mode but capable of performing the patented method. (9) St. Jude provided the doctors with instructions to program the ICDs to perform the infringing cardioversion mode. (10) In the subsequent appeal, the '288 patent's claim construction was modified and remanded for a new trial of infringement in light of the claim construction and for reassessment of damages. (11)

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