Court Revives Cochlear Implant Patent Dispute

     (CN) – The Federal Circuit reinstated a research organization’s lawsuit accusing Cochlear Corp. of infringing on its patented cochlear implants.




     The Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research (AMF) claimed that Cochlear made implants that violated its patented technology.
     Cochlear argued that AMF lacked standing to sue, because it had exclusively licensed its patents to Advanced Bionics, another company that makes cochlear implants.
     Cochlear said the 2004 agreement between AMF and Advanced Bionics was a virtual assignment of the patents to Advanced Bionics, granting it the sole right to sue for infringement.
     The district court agreed with Cochlear, but the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., reversed.
     “We find that AMF is the owner of the patents-in-suit because it retained substantial rights in the patents, including the right to sue for infringement,” Chief Judge Paul Michel wrote for the three-judge panel.
     “While AMF’s right to choose to sue an infringer does not vest until [Advanced Bionics] chooses not to sue that infringer, it is otherwise unfettered.”
     The court reversed dismissal and remanded the case for a ruling on the merits of AMF’s infringement claim.

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