Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W.L. Gore & Assocs., Inc., No. 14-1114 (Fed. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The application from which the 135 patent issued (28 years later) was filed in 1974. The patent relates to prosthetic vascular grafts made of highly-expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), consisting of solid nodes of PTFE connected by thin PTFE fibrils. The graft formed by ePFTE is homogeneously porous: a structure that allows uniform cell regrowth to establish a firm integration of the graft into the body. The different claims of the patent are directed to grafts made of ePTFE with varying intermodal distances, which are also called fibril lengths. It is sold by Gore under as “Gore-Tex.” In 2003, BPV and Dr. Goldfarb sued Gore for infringement. A jury found the patent valid and that Gore willfully infringed. The Federal Circuit affirmed in 2012, but granted rehearing and vacated for the limited purpose of addressing willfulness, enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees. On remand, the district court again found that Gore, as a “reasonable litigant,” could not have realistically expected its defenses to succeed. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting a claim that neither BPV nor Goldfarb had standing to sue for infringement and holding that Gore’s position was not susceptible to a reasonable conclusion that the patent was invalid on inventorship grounds.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on January 26, 2015.