February 19, 2015 – Masimo Corp. and Philips Electronics North America Corp. are currently debating the merits of a patent misuse defense in a case over pulse oximeters, medical devices that measure the levels of oxygen in a patient’s blood. The patents at issue are Masimo’s U.S. Patent No. 6,263,222, entitled “Signal processing apparatus,” and U.S. Patent No. 7,215,984, entitled the same. After Masimo filed the patent infringement action, Philips counterclaimed, adding an affirmative defense of patent misuse based on an allegation that Masimo uses a proprietary system in its devices with no other purpose than to restrain trade for anticompetitive purposes. The case is captioned: Masimo Corp. v. Philips Electronics North America Corp. et al., 09-cv-80 (D. Del.). United States District Court Chief Judge for the District of Delaware, Leonard P. Stark, is presiding. In a jury decision in October 2014, Philips lost its invalidity challenges against Masimo – Philips had stipulated to infringement prior to trial. The issue of patent misuse was not a part of that earlier trial, however, and Judge Stark will now decide whether Philips’ patent misuse claims can go forward.
By: Frederick C. Millett