Posted On: December 9, 2009 by YCST

Judge Farnan: Markman Opinion on a Medical Patent

Judge Farnan recently issued a claim construction opinion in ICU Medical, Inc. v. RyMed Technologies, Inc., C.A. No. 07-468-JJR (D. Del. Dec. 3, 2009), an infringement case involving patents on intravenous medical connector valves used to connect fluid bags to an IV. The following terms were construed:

  • "Compressed State" - "the state of the seal when a medical implement causes axial compression"
  • "Decompressed State" - "the state of the seal when a medical implement is not causing axial compression"
  • "O-Ring Elements" - "portions having a circular outer surface that is wider at the middle than at the top or bottom."
  • "Resilient Seal" - "wherein, upon compression, the structure changes shape and, upon removal of the compression, the structure returns to its original shape."
  • "Resilient Seal Element" - "a sealing structure wherein, upon compression, the structure changes shape and, upon removal of the compression, the structure returns to its original shape."
  • "Generally Arcuate Segments" - "naturally separated divisions, portions or sections of the walls that are bent, curved like a bow or arc-shaped."
  • "Arcuate Segments Intersecting One Another" - "arcuate segments that meet or touch."
  • "Fills Essentially Completely" - "fills all of or almost all of the cavity adjacent to the opening to prevent fluid from leaking between the seal and the wall structure."
  • "Bearing Against Said Wall Structure Near Said Opening to Seal Said Opening" - "the seal is situated in contact with the wall structure [of the housing] near the opening of the proximal end of the housing to make the opening fluid tight."
  • "Pre-Slit" - "an opening made beforehand."
  • "Horizontal Groove" - "at least one groove which is perpendicular to an axis defined by the proximal and distal ends."
  • "Seated Within the Cavity" - "situated, positioned or located within the cavity."

Although some of the patent terms had been previously construed by another court, Judge Farnan rejected some of those constructions where the prior court had relied on the dictionary definition of some terms (such as "resilient"), because "[c]urrently, dictionary definitions are not favored as a source of ordinary meaning." Id. at 13, 19.

ICU Medical, Inc. v. RyMed Technologies, Inc., C.A. No. 07-468-JJR (D. Del. Dec. 3, 2009)