Go with the flow

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Case No. O2016_009 | Hearing of 29 October 2018

iFlow sensor

Please find some background information about the subject-matter at stake on this Blog here.

In brief, Hamilton Medical AG alleges infringement of its Swiss patent CH 701 755 B1 (see Swissreg for further bibliographic details) by some of imtmedical AG‘s iFlow sensors. The only independent claim 1 of the patent as granted reads as follows:

Durchflussmessfühler (10) mit einem ein zylindrisches Gehäuse (10) definierenden Durchgang mit einer ersten Durchgangsöffnung (13) und einer zweiten Durchgangsöffnung (29); einem im Durchgang des Gehäuses angeordneten Strömungswiderstand (23), welcher das Gehäuse in einen ersten und einen zweiten Gehäuseteil (11 und 27) unterteilt; einer ersten Anschlussstelle (17) mit einer Verbindung zum Innern des ersten Gehäuseteils (11); und einer zweiten Anschlussstelle (19) mit einer Verbindung zum Innern des zweiten Gehäuseteils; dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die ersten und zweiten Anschlussstellen (17, 19) in einem Abstand voneinander auf dem gleichen Gehäuseteil angeordnet sind.

Fig. 1 of CH 701 755 B1

The defendant denies an infringment, and argues for nullity as a plea in defense.

This case is already pending for two years. Likewise, the main hearing yesterday has been quite lengthy: Plaintiff’s initial pleadings took about 2.5 hours, and defendant’s reply took yet another two hours. The hearing was not even finished thereafter, but we just could not attend any longer. Anyway, some key aspects of the case became pretty clear from both parties’ first pleadings.

In our understanding, the expert opinion of the judge-rapporteur had held that the patent as granted was not valid. However, the judge-rapporteur apparently also held that the patent would be valid in a more limited extent, and that it would still be infringed to that extent. Thereafter, the plaintiff apparently submitted that he only invoked the patent to an extent that had been held valid by the judge-rapporteur. Defendant firmly denied that this ‘verbal limitation’ (verbale Einschränkung) was admissible and argued that the case had to be dismissed if claim 1 of the patent as granted was invalid.

Further, the defendant relied on i) a prior use; and ii) US 6,585,662 when arguing for lack of an inventive step.

Fig. 8 of US 6,585,662
Uphill fight

It remains to be seen how all this turns out, but from what has been argued at the hearing we conclude that it is currently an uphill fight for the defendant. And it did not seem as if this was a case to be concluded with a settlement. Stay tuned.

Reported by Tina VOCI and Martin WILMING

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Case No. O2016_009 | Hearing of 29 October 2018

Hamilton Medical AG
./.
imtmedical AG

Panel of Judges:

  • Dr. Mark SCHWEIZER
  • Dr. Tobias BREMI
  • Dr. Lorenzo PARRINI

Judge-rapporteur:

  • Dr. Tobias BREMI

Court Clerk:

  • Susanne ANDERHALDEN

Representative(s) of Plaintiff:

  • Dr. Christoph GASSER (BianchiSchwald)
  • Renato BOLLHALDER (Bohest), assisting in patent matters
  • Dr. Torben MÜLLER (Bohest), assisting in patent matters

Representative(s) of Defendant:

  • Dr. Rudolf RENTSCH (IPrime)
  • Ernst BREM (IPrime)
  • Paul ROSENICH (PPR)
  • Joachim KÜNSCH (PPR)

CH 701 755 B1

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Litigation that won’t take your breath away

Hamilton Medical

I recently came across some press releases about litigation between Hamilton Medical AG and imtmedical AG. Both parties are active in the field of medical ventilation units.

Nothing surfaced so far at the FPC, but the press releases of the parties provide quite some insight.

A first complaint was apparently filed by Hamilton on May 31, 2016, alleging infringement of CH 701 755 B1 (see Swissreg for further bibliographic details) by certain flow measurement sensors of imtmedical; see Hamilton’s first press release.

iFlow sensor

From imtmedical’s press release, it becomes clear that their iFlow sensors 40S and 200S are at stake. However, imtmedical mentions that the complaint had been filed by Hamilton already in December 2015; it might be that there are (or had been) actually two cases pending at the FPC relating to the sensors.

imtmedical

According to Hamilton’s second press release, yet another litigation between the parties concerns imtmedical’s Bellavista ventilators with the feature ‘Animated Lung‘. Hamilton alleges infringement of EP 1 984 805 B1; see EPO Register and Swissreg for further bibliographic details. The complaint has apparently been filed on March 23, 2017. In turn, imtmedical argues for invalidity of EP’805; see imtmedical’s press release for further details about their arguments for invalidity.

Reported by Martin WILMING

CH 701 755 B1

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EP 1 984 805 B1

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