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Hologic wins $4.8 million in Minerva suit

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | July 30, 2018
Business Affairs
A Federal court in Delaware has awarded $4.8 million in damages to Hologic in its patent dispute with Minerva Surgical. The amount included money for lost profits and $587,000 for lost sales royalties of 8 percent.

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s ruling and the jury’s verdict, which together validate Hologic’s assertions of patent infringement by Minerva Surgical, and recognize the value of our intellectual property,” GYN surgical solutions president Sean Daugherty said in a statement. “As the maker of the NovaSure system, we are committed to delivering best-in-class products backed by strong clinical data for our customers and their patients.”

At issue are pair of Hologic patents related to endometrial ablation technology, the company said.

Hologic picked up the NovaSure ablation device in its 2007 Cytyc buy – which included Novacept.

Four years later, ex-Novacept CEO Csaba Truckai started Minerva and developed its own device, the Aurora.

In 2015, Hologic sued Minerva, claiming patent infringement.

Minerva has since sued Hologic. In 2017, it claimed in court documents that Hologic infringed on its patented technology.

The complaint, filed in federal court in San Francisco, said the company might seek an injunction blocking U.S. sales of Hologic’s NovaSure Advanced system which began in February. In 2016, that product went on sale in Europe, Canada and Australia, according to Reuters.

It did go to court in January, at which time California Judge James Donato ruled that it could not have the injunction against sales because it couldn't show it would likely win the infringement case.

In its response to the latest loss in the patent-infringement fight, the Redwood City-based company countered in its statement that the Delaware jury found in its verdict that “Minerva behaved properly at all times.”

In November 2015, Hologic filed suit. Stated Minerva, “following a ten-day trial, the jury returned a verdict vindicating Minerva of any willful patent infringement, and awarding Hologic the sum of $4.8 million—approximately one quarter of the amount Hologic was seeking in damages.”

According to Minerva, while the jury appeared to credit Minerva for “its own independent innovation,” the ruling meant that it now planned “to vigorously challenge” the decision and award.

“This is but one step in a multiphase process and there remain issues to be decided by the Court of Appeals that could impact the applicability of this verdict,” said Minerva CEO Dave Clapper, stressing that, “we intend to continue selling the Minerva product” and that the company would “pursue the appellate process” if necessary to do so.

The deal that in some way led to the present legal troubles – the Hologic-Cytyc 2007 merger – was a cash and stock deal that created a then-$10 billion company.

Under the terms of that merger deal, Cytyc shareholders got 0.52 shares of Hologic common stock and $16.50 in cash for each share held – a total of $6.2 billion – – paid out as 65.8 million shares and about $2.1 billion in cash.

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