Thursday, May 6, 2010

HemCon to ask court to reverse $29.4M patent award

An Oregon company plans to challenge a $29.4 million jury award to a Massachusetts company for patent infringement over a product derived from shrimp shells or algae that can be used to control bleeding. HemCon Medical Technologies Inc. of Portland says it makes a material called chitosan from shrimp shells while Marine Polymer Technologies in Danvers, Mass., makes it from algae. The chitosan is used in bandages to help control bleeding and infection from trauma or surgery and to treat battlefield wounds for the military. Last week, a U.S. District Court jury in Concord, N.H., ruled in favor of Marine Polymer in a patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Hemcon four years ago. Sergio Finkielsztein, president and CEO of Marine Polymer, praised the verdict and said the company will seek a permanent injunction against HemCon. "Our company was built on innovation, and new technologies we have developed since the early 90s and continue to develop to this day," Finkielszstein said. But John Morgan, president and CEO of HemCon, said the verdict would allow the patent to cover shrimp-based chitosan compounds that were publicly disclosed by others well before the Marine Polymer patent application was filed. "We believe the jury's decision is wrong and will ask the court to review and reverse it," Morgan said Wednesday. He also said the U.S. Patent Office granted a HemCon request for re-examination of the patent last November and the agency made an initial determination last month to reject Marine Polymer's claims. Morgan said the Patent Office indicated its willingness to allow the claims of the patent if Marine Polymer would limit them to algae. "There were broad claims in the patent that looked at all forms of materials," Morgan said. "But clearly the process and material employed by Marine Polymer is not what we used."

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