A Medical Device Daily

Occlutech (Jena, Germany), a European manufacturer of cardiac occlusion devices, reported that it has appealed the first instance court decision that was reported on Aug. 1 in which the the district court in Dusseldorf sided with AGA Medical (Plymouth, Minnesota) in a patent infringement case (Medical Device Daily , Aug. 1, 2007).

AGA is the owner of a European patent (EP 0 808 138) registered in Germany (DE 695 34 505) for intravascular occlusion devices and the method of forming or manufacturing these medical devices. The patent was granted in October 2005.

Occlutech said its appeal is motivated by the first instance court decision seemingly not considering all relevant facts and arguments brought forth by Occlutech. The court decision appears to be based on an unintended broad interpretation of the AGA patent that is not compatible with scientific facts, laws of physics and prior art, the company said.

The company said that it is confident that when the next court instance, the provincial high court and court of appeal in Dusseldorf investigates this matter, a more thorough consideration of the hard facts from the areas of material science and intellectual property legislation will work in its favor and the earlier decision will be revoked.

Occlutech said it expects this positive outcome in 18 months from now and intends to continue to serve existing and new customers both in Germany and internationally with its range of PFO and ASD occluders as well as several new products currently being developed.

“In addition to a high likelihood of the recent court decision being revoked in the appeal process, we see a substantial chance that the AGA patent will be invalidated as a result of AGA’s own actions and argumentation in court,” said Occlutech’s CEO Robert Moszner.

Occlutech has reported that it will initiate invalidation proceedings against AGA’s only awarded European patent. Most of the broader claims now interpreted into the patents by AGA Medical were not accepted by the reviewers of the European Patent Office in the original patent approval process due to the existence of prior art, the company said.

AGA’s original action against Occlutech, filed in Dusseldorf in August 2006, requested damages against Occlutech, Drabo Medizintechnik (Cologne, Germany), and their CEOs and further requested a permanent injunction prohibiting them from manufacturing and marketing the infringing “Figulla Occluder” line of products. AGA said that the three-judge panel held that Occlutech and Drabo infringed AGA’s patent and granted AGA the right to enforce an order prohibiting the defendants from any manufacture, possession or sale of its infringing products.

In other legalitites: Health Discovery Corp. (HDC; Savannah, Georgia) reported that it has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its patent application titled “Method for the Manipulation, Storage, Modeling, Visualization and Quantification of Datasets.”

Once issued, the patent will be the second of a series of applications covering the Fractal Genomics Modeling (FGM) Technology to issue. This patent covers use of the FGM technology for identifying patterns within a dataset by recognizing repeated data strings within a long sequence of data, then associating each repeated string with a single point within a grid. The points are then used to create a visual map which is capable of graphically representing the complete dataset.

The claims of the new patent are not limited to biotechnology applications, but also encompass application of the FGM technology to pattern recognition within other types of data.

The FGM technology has been used to recognize patterns within gene expression data and causal relationships between genes to identify biomarkers that may be useful in developing potential treatments, diagnoses or prognoses of diseases, including HIV and leukemia. In addition to its applications in biomarker discovery, FGM technology has clear applications in data compression for image data and other data types that involve datasets made up of repeated data strings of varying lengths.

HDC also reported that the European Patent Office has recently granted a new patent covering the FGM technology. The claims of European Patent No. 1252588 correspond to those of the first issued U.S. patent covering the FGM technology, Patent No. 6,920,451, which provides for either graphical or mathematical mapping of the points that represent strings of data.

Once the USPTO issues the new FGM patent, HDC will hold the exclusive rights to 26 issued U.S. and foreign patents covering uses of SVM and FGM technology for discovery of knowledge from large data sets. Other issued patents cover methods and systems for pre-processing of data to enhance knowledge discovery using SVMs, analysis of data using multiple support vector machines and for multiple data sets, and providing SVM analysis services over the Internet.

HDC’s pending U.S. and foreign patent applications cover numerous improvements to and applications of SVMs including computer-aided image analysis using SVMs, with particular application to diagnosis using medical images, methods of feature selection for enhanced SVM efficiency and biomarkers for colon cancer, prostate cancer, BPH and renal cancer discovered with these methods, and use of SVMs for analysis of spectral data, such as mass spectrometry data used for protein analysis.