A Medical Device Daily

Bayer AG (Leverkusen, Germany) won a court ruling that an Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois) patent used in glucose-testing products is not enforceable because a company attorney used misrepresentations to get the patent approved, according to a Bloomberg report.

Lawrence Pope, formerly an Abbott attorney, acted with "specific intent to deceive" the patent examiner, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said in his June 24 ruling. Pope withheld information that would have hurt Abbott's case, Alsup wrote in the 54-page ruling.

"Intent to deceive, not just withhold, was clearly in the mind of" Pope, the judge wrote. "If concealment of extrinsic information as close to the heart of the prosecution as was involved here is allowed to pass, then we would in effect be issuing licenses to deceive patent examiners in virtually all cases."

Abbott first sued Bayer in 2005 claiming patent infringement seeking unspecified damages, Bloomberg said. The cases were later combined with other lawsuits brought against Becton Dickinson (Franklin Lakes, New Jersey) and Nova Biomedical (Waltham, Massachusetts), with the trial starting last month.

Abbott claimed test strips in two Bayer glucose-testing products that are no longer on the market infringed three Abbott patents, Susan Yarin, a spokesman for Bayer in Tarrytown, New York, told Bloomberg. The electrochemical sensors are used by diabetics, the judge wrote.

Abbott maintains the patent was "obtained lawfully," and is weighing its legal options, said spokesman Scott Stoffel. "Abbott continues to believe that this patent is valid and enforceable and that the defendants' products infringe."

In other legal activity: Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) said it has reached a settlement with HCP (Long Beach, California), a real estate investment trust that owns seven hospitals leased by Tenet subsidiaries. The agreement will resolve the pending litigation and arbitration proceedings and provide notice of non-renewal at two hospitals, Tenet said.

As part of the settlement, a Tenet subsidiary has entered into a definitive agreement with Providence Health & Services California regarding the 245-bed Tarzana campus of Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center in the Los Angeles area. The Tarzana campus is owned by HCP, however, as part of the agreement, a Tenet subsidiary will acquire the hospital from HCP and simultaneously sell it to Providence Health (see Deals roundup, p. 2).

Also, as part of the settlement with HCP, Tenet said it would continue or extend the leases at four hospitals and will not renew the leases at two other hospitals. The HCP-owned hospitals that Tenet will continue to lease and their expiration dates are:

Frye Regional Medical Center, a 355-bed acute care hospital in Hickory, North Carolina; lease renewed through February 2014 with options to renew through 2039.

North Fulton Regional Hospital, a 202-bed acute care hospital in Roswell, Georgia; lease renewed through February 2014 with options to renew through 2039.

NorthShore Regional Medical Center, a 165-bed acute care hospital in Slidell, Louisiana; lease expires May 2010 with options to renew through 2040.

Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, a 199-bed acute care hospital in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; lease renewed through February 2014 with options to renew through 2039.

The hospitals owned by HCP with leases that will not be renewed are:

Community Hospital of Los Gatos, a 143-bed acute care hospital in Los Gatos, California; lease expires May 2009.

Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center, a 176-bed acute care hospital in Irvine, California; lease expires February 2009.

The agreements are subject to customary regulatory approvals, and the sales are expected to be completed during the third quarter. Financial terms were not disclosed. These transactions will not affect the range of Tenet's outlook for 2008 and 2009 operating results or cash flow, the company said.

Tenet owns and operates acute care hospitals and related ancillary healthcare businesses, which include ambulatory surgery centers and diagnostic imaging centers.