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Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc. v. Medtronic Vascular, Inc.

497 F.3d 1293 (2007)

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Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc. v. Medtronic Vascular, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

497 F.3d 1293 (2007)

Facts

Andrew Cragg filed a patent application for an invention on June 5, 1995. Cragg subsequently assigned the rights in the patent application to Boston Scientific Technology, Inc., which later merged and became Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc. (Scimed) (plaintiff). On the same day, June 5, 1995, Thomas Fogarty filed a patent application for the same invention. Fogarty assigned the rights in the application to a company that became Medtronic Vascular, Inc. (Medtronic) (defendant). In April 1998, the United States Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (the Patent Board) declared an interference, or a contest between patent applications, between the Scimed and Medtronic patent applications, along with a patent application by a third party. The Patent Board initially determined that Cragg had priority of inventorship based on the filing of a European patent application by a French company, MinTec SARL (MinTec), on February 9, 1994. The Patent Board gave Cragg the benefit of this filing date, even though MinTec was not acting on behalf of Cragg, and no legal relationship between the two existed at the time Cragg did assign rights in the invention to MinTec subsequent to MinTec’s patent application. After Fogarty contested the decision, the Patent Board issued a final decision ruling that Cragg was not entitled to the benefit of MinTec’s European application because Cragg had not yet assigned rights in the invention to MinTec at the time MinTec filed the European application. Scimed, the assignee of Cragg’s patent application, filed suit in federal court to challenge the Patent Board’s decision. The district court upheld the ruling of the Patent Board, and Scimed appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mayer, J.)

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