The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 22 in favor of medical device manufacturer Medtronic Inc in the company's suit with privately owned Mirowski Family Ventures LLC, according to Reuters. Mirowski had alleged the larger company infringed its intellectual property in making certain pacemakers. Medtronic licensed the patents in question from Mirowski, but in 2007 Mirowski alleged Medtronic was developing new products that would also require royalty payments. Medtronic asked a judge to rule its pacemakers do not infringe on Mirowski's patented technology, which is licensed to Boston Scientific and Guidant Corp.
A court in Delaware had previously ruled for Medtronic, saying it was up to Mirowski to prove infringement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit subsequently disagreed, and ruled it was up to Medtronic to prove its own case. The Supreme Court reversed that ruling, and held that the patent holder must prove infringement in most cases, this one included.
"We hold that, when a licensee seeks a declaratory judgment against a patentee (patent holder) to establish that there is no infringement, the burden of proving infringement remains with the patentee," the Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, read.