Monday, 24 August 2009

Components of a patented invention not "methods or processes"

PatLit learned last week that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in Cardiac Pacemakers Inc and others v St Jude Medical Inc and another that the use of a device outside the US does not infringe method claims in respect of a US patent. Since patents for "methods or processes" are not subject to Ti 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) [which imposes liability on companies that send “components of a patented invention” abroad for assembly and sale], that provision cannot give rise to patent infringement liability if the products are assembled and sold overseas.

In this dispute Cardiac Pacemakers objected to the sale by St Jude of implantable cardioverter defibrillators which, they claimed, infringed their patent for a “method of heart stimulation” using a programmable implantable heart stimulator. The CAFC, sitting en banc, reversed the decision of the Federal Circuit Court late last year that St Jude was liable.

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