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C.R. Bard, Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.

Law Dictionary
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Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Intellectual Property Keyed to Merges


Citation. C.R. Bard, Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., 911 F.2d 670, 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 13085, 15 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1540 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 2, 1990)

Brief Fact Summary. C.R. Bard, Inc. (Bard) (Plaintiff) argued that Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (Defendant) was a contributory infringer that had actively caused infringement of Plaintiff’s method patent for medical treatment.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.An individual induces infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271 by actively and knowingly aiding and abetting another person’s direct infringement.

Facts. Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (ACS) (Defendant) was marketing a perfusion catheter to be used in coronary angioplasty.  C.R. Bard, Inc. (Bard) (Plaintiff) brought suit against Defendant claiming that Defendant’s catheter was especially adapted for use by a surgeon in a manner that infringed claim 1 of Plaintiff’s method patent that Defendant was therefore a contributory infringer and had actively induced infringement.  Plaintiff successfully alleged that there was no evidence that any procedures using the ACS (Defendant) catheter would be noninfringing.  Defendant appealed, claiming that the catheter could be used in noninfringing procedures.

Issue. Does an individual induce infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271 by actively and knowingly aiding and abetting another person’s direct infringement?

Held. [Judge not stated in casebook excerpt.]  Yes.  An individual induces infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271 by actively and knowingly aiding and abetting another person’s direct infringement.  The statute requires that ACS (Defendant) sell a catheter for use in practicing the patented process, which use constitutes a material part of invention, knowing that the catheter is especially made or adapted for use in infringing the patent, and that the catheter is not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use.  On this record a reasonable jury could find that there are substantial noninfringing uses for the ACS (Defendant) catheter.  It cannot be said that Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Whether the ACS (Defendant) catheter has no use except through practice of the patented method is a critical issue of fact in this case.  Reversed and remanded.

Discussion. This case involves two competing manufacturers of catheters.  However, the real appears to be the doctor using the catheter.  Congress amended the patent laws in 1996 to exempt doctors who perform medical processes from liability for infringement.


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