Ivera Medical Corp. v. Hospira, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2015)

September 9, 2015 – The Federal Circuit issued a decision on September 8, 2015, reversing and remanding the United States District Court for the Southern District of California’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity for obviousness over three Ivera Medical patents, ruling that a genuine issue of material fact remains concerning whether the patents are obvious.  The technology at issue relates to medical devices such as catheters that include a cap, which are filled with cleaning disinfectant to prevent the spread of pathogens.  The main argument centered on whether there was motivation to combine the cited prior art.  Ivera argued that there was no motivation to add a vent to the prior art cap, because the record showed that the conventional wisdom was that disinfecting caps should be fluid tight.  Hospira argued that the motivation to add a vent came from another prior art reference that taught the benefit of venting a cap.  The Federal Circuit, in an opinion written by Jimmie V. Reyna (and joined by panel members Pauline Newman and Richard G. Taranto), agreed with Ivera Medical that a genuine dispute over whether one of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to add a vent to the disinfecting cap as described in the prior art existed.  The patents at issue are: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,780,794, 7,985,302, and 8,206,514, all entitled: “Medical Implement Cleaning Device.”

By: Frederick C. Millett

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