Medtronic, Boston Scientific, St. Jude Medical escape catheter patent suit

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gavelA trio of medical device companies yesterday escaped a patent infringement lawsuit filed by the inventor of a catheter after a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the case was filed in the wrong jurisdiction.

Imran Niazi in April sued Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) and Abbott (NYSE:ABT) subsidiary St. Jude Medical in the U.S. District Court for Western Wisconsin, alleging infringement of U.S patent 6,638,268 covering a coronary sinus catheter.

The companies moved to dismiss the case, arguing that it lacked jurisdiction in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, which limited the ability of patent holders to sue in other states.

Yesterday Judge James Peterson found for the defendants based on the Heartland ruling, according to court documents.

“In these cases, it is undisputed that none of the defendants are incorporated in Wisconsin, so none of them ‘reside’ here. As to the second option for establishing proper venue, some of the defendants admit that they sell accused products in this district and some deny that they do, but all of the defendants deny that they have ‘a regular and established place of business’ in the district, so the court will focus on that issue,” Peterson wrote. “In light of the absence of any evidence or even allegations from Niazi that any of the defendants have a regular and established place of business in this district, the court concludes that Niazi has failed to show that venue is proper here.”

Peterson also ruled against allowing Niazi to proceed with discovery to prove residence in the western Wisconsin district, according to the documents.

“In these cases, Niazi has not identified any basis for believing that discovery will show that any of the defendants have a place of business in this district. Even if the court assumes as Niazi suggests that some of the sales people might keep some inventory at their homes, that type of de minimis evidence would not be sufficient to show that a defendant engaged in business from the employees’ homes,” he wrote. “To avoid questions about jurisdiction after a transfer, the court will dismiss the cases so that Niazi and the assignee can refile after determining the proper parties.”

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