Boston Scientific SciMed v. Medtronic Vascular (Fed. Cir. 2007).
SciMed’s patent application was originally filed by a European company (MinTec) in February 1994 as an European Patent Application. At that time, however, the inventors (Cragg & Dake) had not yet assigned rights to MinTec. Cragg assigned his rights a few months later. Dake did not assign his rights until 1996.
Medtronic has a US priority filing date of June 1994 on the same invention. In the interference, the question is whether a US patent applicant claim priority to a foreign application filed by an entity that was not acting on behalf of the US applicant at the time of filing? CAFC Answer: No priority unless foreign application was filed on behalf of the US applicant.
Under the court’s ruling here, 35 USC 119(a) provides a personal right to the inventor. Consequently, there must be a “nexus…between the inventor and the foreign applicant at the time the foreign application was filed.” That nexus requires at least “knowledge or consent” of the inventor.
“Indeed, as a matter of pure logic, an entity could not have filed a foreign application “on behalf of” an inventor without the inventor’s knowledge or consent; that the foreign application may have been filed in accordance with the laws of the country in which it was filed has no bearing here.”
“[A] foreign application may only form the basis for priority under section 119(a) if that application was filed by either the U.S. applicant himself, or by someone acting on his behalf at the time the foreign application was filed.” (emphasis in original)
- This decision [LINK]: Scimed Life Sys., Inc. v. Medtronic Vascular, Inc., — F.3d — (Fed. Cir. 2007).
- Final BPAI Decision: Patent Interference No. 104,192, Paper No. 187, 2001 WL 1339890 (B.P.A.I. July 21, 2001).
- Trial Court Decision: Scimed Life Sys., Inc. v. Medtronic Vascular, Inc., 486 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2006).