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Medinol Ltd. v. Guidant Corp.

February 10, 2006

MEDINOL LTD., PLAINTIFF,
v.
GUIDANT CORP. AND ADVANCED CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEMS, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shira A.SCHEINDLIN, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Medinol Ltd. ("Medinol") brings this action for damages and injunctive relief relating to the alleged infringement by Guidant Corp. and its subsidiary Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (collectively, "Guidant") of certain of Medinol's patents.*fn1 Medinol moves for summary judgment based on literal infringement of two of the three patents-in-suit, the '120 Patent and the '381 Patent. Guidant responds with its own motion for summary judgment, asserting that the accused products infringe none of the patents-in-suit, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. For the following reasons, Medinol's motion is granted with respect to the '381 Patent and denied with respect to the '120 Patent; and Guidant's motion is granted except with respect to the '381 Patent. In short, Guidant's accused products literally infringe Medinol's '381 Patent.*fn2

II. BACKGROUND

Medinol, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, designs and manufactures coronary stents.*fn3 The company was founded by, among others, Dr. Jacob ("Kobi") Richter, Medinol's Chairman of the Board and Chief Technical Officer.*fn4 Guidant develops, markets, and sells cardiovascular medical products and has its principal place of business in Indiana. ACS is based in California.*fn5

The general background of the stent technology at issue here has been adequately covered by my prior Opinions in this case.*fn6 Familiarity with these Opinions is assumed.

A. The Patents-in-Suit

According to Richter, stents on the market in the early 1990's all possessed advantages and offsetting disadvantages, because they:

were of two extreme kinds . . . , [o]ne was very flexible . . . but because it was very flexible, also when it was extended it was not stable. The loops could be drawn away from each other, and it would not support very well the lesion, the narrowing in the vessel. So, it could go anywhere you want [within the body], but would not support. The other type had a rigid enough, stable enough structure such that when deployed, it would support pretty well, but it was very inflexible, rigid. So you could not push it through the curves of the arterial system to the position you are trying to treat. That was suboptimal.*fn7

On September 12, 1995, U.S. Patent No. 5,449,373 was issued to Gregory Pinchasik et al. and assigned to Medinol ("'373 Patent"). The application for this patent was filed on March 17, 1994.*fn8 A series of stents, described as continuations or continuations-in-part of this patent, were invented by Henry Israel and Pinchasik, and assigned to Medinol. These patents -- the '303, '018, '120, '381, and '982*fn9 -- describe a family of flexible, expandable stents that "achieve the objectives and flexibility during delivery, compensation for foreshortening, continuous uniform scaffolding, and resistance to radial deformation and collapse upon expansion."*fn10 Preferred embodiments of the patents-in-suit, taken from the '381 Patent, are shown below:*fn11

[OMITTED]

Although Medinol originally alleged infringement of claims from all five of these patents, it has now dropped its infringement allegations pertaining to the '303 and '018 Patents.*fn12 The remaining claims can be divided into two groups: the "meander" claims and the "flexible cell" claims. The "meander" claims, comprised of the asserted claims of the '120 and '982 Patents, describe stent structures formed by two types of meander patterns intertwined with one another.

These patterns are referred to as "first meanders," which extend in a circumferential direction; and "second meanders," which extend in a longitudinal direction.*fn13 I have construed "first meander" to mean "a periodic sinusoidal pattern about a center line."*fn14 I construed a "second meander" to mean "periodic pattern[s] about a center line oriented in a direction different from the axis of the first meanders."*fn15

The "flexible cell" claims refer to the asserted claims of the '381 Patent. A "flexible cell," as used in these claims, has been construed as "[a]n arrangement of structural elements that defines an enclosed space. The cells must be substantially flexible prior to expansion of the stent and substantially rigid after expansion of the stent."*fn16

B. The Asserted Claims of the Patents-in-Suit

1. The '120 Patent

The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") issued the '120 Patent, entitled "Flexible-Expandable Stent," on December 1, 1998. Five of the claims are asserted here --13, 16, 18, 27, and 28, which, in seriatim, state:

13. An expandable stent formed of an elongated cylindrical unitary tube suitable for insertion into a lumen or blood vessel in which it may be expanded, comprising: a plurality of first meanders extending in a first direction on the cylinder of the tube and a plurality of second meanders extending in a second direction, on the cylinder of the tube, wherein the first and second meanders are formed with loops and are interconnected such that at least one of the loops of each of the first meanders is disposed between each consecutive second meander to which the first meander is connected, and at least one of the loops of each of the second meanders is disposed between each consecutive first meander to which it is connected; the first and second meanders defining a plurality of enclosed spaces.

16. A stent according to claim 13, wherein the first and second meanders are connected together such that the loops thereof cooperate so that upon bending of the stents the loops change shape to compensate for the difference in length between the inside and outside curves.

18. A stent according to claim 13, wherein the stent can bend in any direction and in more than one direction at any time.

27. A stent according to claim 21 wherein said second meander patterns intersect with said first meander patterns so as to leave at least one loop of said first meander patterns between each pair of adjacent second meander patterns.

28. A stent according to claim 21 wherein said second meander patterns intersect with said first meander patterns at common members which are shared by said first and said second meander patterns.*fn17

2. The '982 Patent

On September 3, 2002, the PTO issued the '982 Patent. Claims 1, 2-15, and 17 are asserted here and read as follows:

1. An expandable stent for supporting a vessel, wherein in the expanded and deployed state, the stent consists of:

(a) first meander patterns having loops, the first meander patterns being longitudinally spaced from each other and having axes extending in a first direction; and

(b) second meander patterns having loops, the second meander patterns having axes extending in a second direction, different than the first direction,

(c) wherein the first and second meander patterns are interconnected to form a tubular structure;

(d) wherein the first meander patterns are connected to the second meander patterns so as to leave at least one loop of each of the second meander patterns in the space between each pair of adjacent first meander patterns; and

(e) wherein the second meander patterns are connected to the first meander patterns so as to leave no more than two loops of each of the first meander patterns between each pair of adjacent second meander patterns.

2. The stent according to claim 1, wherein the shape and placement of the loops provides radial strength to the expanded stent to hold the vessel open.

Id. col. 8, ll. 6-21.

3. The stent according to claim 2, wherein the first direction extends in a circumferential direction.

4. The stent according to claim 3, wherein the second direction extends in a longitudinal direction.

5. The stent according to claim 2, wherein the second direction extends in a longitudinal direction.

6. The stent according to claim 1, wherein the stent defines a plurality of enclosed spaces, with each longitudinal end of each of the enclosed spaces being formed by one or more loops of the first meander pattern.

7. The stent according to claim 6, wherein the enclosed spaces are substantially the same size.

8. The stent according to claim 7, wherein the first direction extends in a circumferential direction.

9. The stent according to claim 8, wherein the second direction extends in a longitudinal direction.

10. The stent according to claim 7, wherein the second direction extends in a longitudinal direction.

11. The stent according to claim 6, wherein the first direction extends in a circumferential direction.

12. The stent according to claim 11, wherein the second direction extends in a longitudinal direction.

13. The stent according to claim 6, wherein the second direction extends in a ...


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