Abbott has been defeated at the UK High Court in a patent dispute with DexCom over patents for their continuous glucose monitor (CGM) devices.

The proceedings began when Abbott brought Dexcom before the courts claiming patent infringement for its G7 applicator, a disposable patch for use with its CGM device. (Case: HP-2021-000025)

At the same time, Dexcom sought to invalidate Abbott’s patent all together, counterclaiming over a claim of added matter, arguing that the patent extends its legal remit.

The patent in question, EP 2 549 918, refers specifically to the needle insertion method as part of the disposable patches used by Abbot’s G7 device, which Dexcom disputed as obvious, a legal defence meaning that the invention will have occurred to a skilled manufacturer anyway.

Abbott alleged that Dexcom’s own needle insertion mechanism had come about as a direct result of examining its own, seeking to have Dexcom products pulled from sale across the UK.

Judge Jonathan Richards concluded: “A Skilled Team in 2010 that was seeking to develop an inserter for a CGM device would start by obtaining a detailed understanding of the Existing CGM Systems.

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“Obtaining that understanding would include obtaining those devices and ‘tearing them down’ so as to understand the inner workings of the inserter in detail.”

However, whilst the court maintained Abbott’s patent as stands, the court decided to reject the US company’s claim, meaning that Dexcom is free to continue selling its CGM devices in the UK.

However, the UK arm is only part of a larger European-wide battle, with Dexcom bringing Abbott before Europe’s Unified Patent Court (UPC) at its Manheim and Paris divisions, citing infringement on four of its own patents, all related to CGM technology, in a case that is still ongoing.

According to GlobalData analysis, the global CGM and insulin pumps market was valued at $10.6 billion in 2022. The market is expected to almost double to $20.8 billion in 2033.

The ruling comes after the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) struck a deal with Dexcom in 2022 to roll out CGM devices, helping Dexcom’s user base to grow from 270,000 users at the end of 2017 to 1.7 million users globally at the end of 2022.