28 August 2009 - Leading international law firm Mayer Brown successfully acted for Mölnlycke Health Care in a claim against Wake Forest University in the High Court to invalidate one of their key patents relating to Kinetic Concepts, Inc.'s (KCI) enormously successful V.A.C. system, which is used for the vacuum-assisted closure of wounds.
Mölnlycke Health Care is one of the world's leading providers of single-use surgical and wound care products and services to the health care sector. KCI is a global medical technology company and Wake Forest University, North Carolina, has become a top-ranked American university in terms of research-related income. The patent was owned by Wake Forest University and exclusively licensed to KCI.
V.A.C. therapy is a cost-effective and clinically proven wound therapy designed to help enhance patient safety. Since 1995, it has helped treat more than three million patients globally for a wide variety of wound types. According to financial reports KCI derives over a billion dollars annually from sales of the V.A.C. system and Wake Forest University is thought to derive tens of millions of dollars annually from its licenses to KCI for this product.
Mölnlycke commenced their invalidation proceedings against Wake Forest University in March 2008, with the trial date set for July 2009. The judgment, given today in the High Court, declared the patent to be invalid on two grounds, namely that it was obvious and that it had also been amended previously in a manner which was impermissible.
The Mayer Brown team was led by Intellectual Property partner Ian Wood, with assistance from IP associate David Fyfield.
Ian Wood, IP partner at Mayer Brown, said: “It was a battle of the heavyweights in a billion dollar market and the outcome has been closely monitored by all in the healthcare industry. The financial implications relating to the validity of the patent were of considerable interest to many big companies in the industry and the favourable judgment comes as great news for them and Mölnlycke, as they are now free to enter this sector of the large and important healthcare market.”
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