Inside the Fisher and Paykel Healthcare factory in East Tamaki, Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Corp has won a patent case against ResMed in the UK in the ongoing intellectual property dispute for its face and nasal masks across various jurisdictions.

The High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Patents Court ruled a disputed ResMed patent was invalid, with the New Zealand manufacturer entitled to recover its legal costs with the amount yet to be determined by the court, the company said in a statement.

“While today’s ruling is just one more step on the journey, it reinforces our confidence in our position and we are satisfied with progress so far,” chief executive Lewis Gradon said.
In 2016, F&P Healthcare claimed that three of ResMed’s European patents were invalid in the UK and should be revoked. ResMed counterclaimed for infringement but did eventually revoke two of the patents, leaving only one before the court.

ResMed argued that patent EP 2 708 258 B1 was infringed by two of F&P Healthcare’s masks used for obstructive sleep apnea therapy, the Eson and Simplus masks. Had the patent been valid it would have been infringed. However, “the court found that the patent was invalid in its entirety.” F&P Healthcare said.

Subject to any appeal, this European patent will be revoked in the UK and “this result confirms that UK patients can continue to purchase and enjoy the benefits of our high-performance masks,” the New Zealand company said.

The skirmish is the latest in a far-ranging dispute between the two firms, with legal action spanning from North America to Europe to New Zealand.

In October F&P Healthcare said that the Regional Court in Munich had ruled ResMed did not infringe its patents on a German utility model patent. A further case is before the same court regarding another patent with a ruling expected in 2018, pending proceedings filed by F&P Healthcare in the European Patent Office.

In its annual report, F&P Healthcare said it had absorbed pre-tax patent litigation costs of $20.7 million during the year to March 31 and it expects to incur litigation-related expenses at a similar run-rate during the 2018 financial year.

F&P Healthcare shares slipped 0.1 per cent to $13.20 but have gained 55 per cent so far this year.

Source: NZ Herald

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