Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cardiac Pacemakers, Guidant v. St. Jude

There are a number of issues in the case, some of which are mentioned in the case text below.

We think that the district court, in granting JMOL, applied an incorrect standard to the ultimate question. Recognition of the problem of treating complex heart arrhythmias does not render obvious the eventual solution. Recognition of a need does not render obvious the achievement that meets that need. There is an important distinction between the general motivation to cure an uncured disease (for example, the disease of multiple forms of heart irregularity), and the motivation to create a particular cure.

-->Substantial evidence
[If there is "substantial evidence" supporting the opposite conclusion reached by the jury, does that imply there is not "substantial evidence" supporting the conclusion reached by the jury?]

The record contains substantial evidence whereby a reasonable jury could have reached the verdict that it would not have been obvious in March 1981 to provide an ICD that includes cardioversion. In view of this evidentiary support, the district court's grant of JMOL cannot stand. See Continental Air Lines, Inc. v. Wagner-Morehouse, Inc., 401 F.2d 23, 30 (7th Cir. 1968) (the jury verdict must be sustained, even if the judge would have reached a different conclusion, if the verdict is supported by substantial evidence). The grant of JMOL is reversed, and the jury verdict is reinstated that the '288 patent is not invalid for obviousness.

Procedural Matters
St. Jude states that CPI failed to preserve a right to appeal the claim construction, because CPI did not make formal objection when the jury was instructed on the claim construction. CPI responds that the claim construction was decided at the Markman hearing, and was not a proper subject of trial objection under Rule 51.

. CPI refers to the "futility" exception, recognized by the Seventh Circuit in Chestnut v. Hall, 284 F.3d 816, 820 (7th Cir. 2002) ("A party may be excused from complying with the formalities of Rule 51 where: (1) the party's position has been previously made clear to the court; and (2) further objection would be unavailing and futile. ")

St. Jude responds that if we modify the district court's claim construction, as we have, a new trial is required so it can present evidence and argument that were not needed under the district court's original claim construction, such as whether the now-asserted scope of the claims is supported by the specification. St. Jude points out that it is entitled to jury determination of the question of infringement. We agree.

***False testimony

The witness had concealed contradictory testimony that he had given in a related case. CPI has paid and is not appealing the sanctions already imposed, for St. Jude's attorney fees and expenses associated with the false testimony.


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