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Judge tosses one of two stent patent suits against Cook Medical

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A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a patent dispute case against Cook Medical Inc. of Bloomington, but a Texas corporation continues to press its claim that the device maker infringed its patents on blood vessel stents and grafts.

Judge Larry McKinney of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a motion to dismiss one of two lawsuits filed against Cook by Endotach LLC of Plano, Texas. The company claims that Cook infringed its patents with multiple stent and internal blood vessel grafting devices it manufactures and markets under the registered trade names of Zenith, Zenith Flex, Zenith Renu and Zenith TX2.   

Endotach claims Cook is liable “in an amount that adequately compensates for its infringement, which, by law, cannot be less than a reasonable royalty, together with interest and costs as fixed by this Court.” Endotach asserts no specific dollar amounts.

McKinney ruled Wednesday that Endotach lacked standing to pursue a claim arising from the disputed right to license the patents perfected in the 1990s by their inventor, the late Dr. Valentine J. Rhodes of Florida. Endotach signed agreements with Rhodes’ widow, but McKinney ruled that she “did not have a property interest in the Rhodes patents at the time she signed the relevant agreements and nothing was transferred thereby.”

Cook argued in court pleadings that Endotach’s filing of a second suit represented an insurance policy, and “the two cases involve the same parties, patents, and accused products, and seek the same remedies. … Endotach cannot have it both ways. Endotach’s gamesmanship should be rejected, and this case dismissed.”

Before McKinney could rule on Cook’s request to dismiss the case, Endotach earlier this month amended one lawsuit against Cook, anticipating the possible dismissal of its other suit. Endotach noted it was filed “out of an abundance of caution,” saying it would seek to consolidate the suits and correct defects in patent licensing agreements in the action that McKinney dismissed.

Despite the ruling, Cook only partially prevailed. McKinney left open the possibility for Endotach to argue to reinstate the dismissed case, saying the defects in licensing agreements could be corrected.

“Moreover, the grievances Cook raises with respect to Endotach’s litigation tactics do not amount to the kind of prejudice for which this court would grant the ultimate sanction of dismissal even if Cook had raised them in the context of a properly-filed and supported motion. Therefore, the Court will dismiss this cause without prejudice,” McKinney wrote.

Cook has not yet filed a formal response to Endotach’s still-pending complaint, Endotach v. Cook Medical Inc., 1:13-cv-1135, filed last month.

Cook is the nation’s largest privately held maker of medical devices, with annual revenue of more than $1.8 billion, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported in July 2012. Cook employs about 4,000 people in the Bloomington area and 10,000 worldwide.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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