WASHINGTON May 19 The U.S. Supreme Court
declined on Monday to hear an appeal filed by healthcare company
Baxter International Inc over a patent dispute with
rival Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co.
The court's action means a July 2013 ruling by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remains intact. That
ruling threw out a judgment of almost $24 million that Baxter
had won over its patent relating to a dialysis machine.
The appeals court nixed the judgment in light of a decision
by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which ruled in a
separate proceeding that the patent was invalid years after it
The legal question before the nine justices was whether
courts can throw out patent infringement judgments in cases in
which the patent office decides during the litigation that the
patent is invalid.
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry groups urged the
court to hear the case, as did medical device manufacturer
Medtronic Inc. They said the appeals court ruling creates
uncertainty because it encourages dual-track litigation that can
extend the time it takes for cases to conclude.
Baxter's patent was challenged by Fresenius in 2003. Baxter
counter-sued and ultimately prevailed, winning a 2012 judgment
that required Fresenius to pay for infringement.
During the litigation, Fresenius separately asked the patent
office to reconsider whether the patent should have been issued,
leading to a 2010 decision in the company's favor.
The case is Baxter v. Fresenius, U.S. Supreme Court, No.
(Editing by Howard Goller and Bernadette Baum)