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C.R. Bard, Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys. - 911 F.2d 670 (Fed. Cir. 1990)

Rule:

Summary judgment is as appropriate in a patent case as it is in any other case. A motion for summary judgment is properly granted where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)

Facts:

Defendant-Appellant Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (ACS) was marketing the only perfusion catheter approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in coronary angioplasty. Plaintiff-Appellee C.R. Bard, Inc. (Bard) sued ACS for alleged infringement of U.S. Patent No. 4,581,017 ( '017), application for which was filed in 1983 and which issued to Harvinder Sahota in 1986; Bard had purchased all rights to the '017 patent as of December 31, 1986. The '017 patent relates to a method for using a catheter in coronary angioplasty. On July 28, 1989, the United States District Court for the Central District of California (No. SA CV 88-646-JSL) granted plaintiff Bard summary judgment against ACS determining that the '017 patent was not invalid as obvious, and finding infringement of claim 1 of the '017 patent

Issue:

Did the district court err in granting Bard’s motion for summary judgment, thus determining that Bard’s patent was not invalid as obvious and finding infringement?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that issues of material fact existed regarding the interpretation of the patent claim and whether the catheter had any use except through practice of the patented method. Summary judgment finding ACS was a contributory infringer was thus improper. Since the evidence was ambiguous regarding the fact patterns under which the catheter was to be used, genuine issues of fact existed regarding whether ACS induced infringement. Finally, ACS raised a genuine issue of fact through the evidence it provided regarding whether Bard’s patent was not invalid for obviousness.

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