August 7, 2015 – The Federal Circuit reversed and vacated-in-part the District Court’s grant of 3 summary judgment motions in favor of Covidien. The patents at issue cover surgical instruments that use ultrasonic energy created by blades vibrating at high frequencies to cut tissue and blood vessels. The Federal Circuit (1) reversed the grant of invalidity for indefiniteness of US Patent No. 8,182,501, finding the specification provided sufficient guidance to one of ordinary skill in the art, (2) vacated the grant of non-infringement of US Patent No. 5,989,275, finding the district court improperly resolved genuine disputes of fact in favor of Covidien instead of Ethicon, the non-moving party, and (3) reversed the grant of invalidity based on functionality, but affirmed the grant of non-infringement, of 4 design patents (U.S. Patent Nos. D661,801; D661,802; D661,803; D661,804). The case is captioned Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. v. Covidien, Inc., 11-cv-00871-TSB.
By: Rosanna W. Gan