A battle at the US patent courts has seen Canadian company, Swift Medical, stripped of its patent for a wound imaging device after it was challenged by Moleculight.

The two companies found themselves before the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Virginia court when Moleculight sought to challenge the scope of Swift Medical’s patent, No.11,266,345 (Patent 345).

Patent 345 denoted an ‘Apparatus for visualization of tissue’ which presented a problem for Moleculight in marketing their own wound imaging devices, used for the detection of elevated bacterial loads in wounds through fluorescence imaging.

Both companies market products in the wound management and imaging market, but Moleculight sought to invalidate the patent in hopes of preventing later litigation, arguing that a series of previous devices and patent filings showed Swift’s device not to be original and unpatentable.

The argument of prior art was successful, meaning that Swift Health’s patent was invalidated given that the judges were satisfied that there was enough evidence that other companies, and designers had created and marketed devices the same as those in patent 345 before the patent was granted in 2022. It was originally due to expire in 2039.

The claims in Patent 345 covered a number of aspects and elements of a portable wound imaging device, ranging from the focal range of lenses used within the device, to the wavelength of light used to highlight the area, through to the use of a battery pack. As a result, it was likely that any other competitor in the portable wound imaging market would be likely to have infringed the patent.

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By GlobalData

Anil Amlani, MolecuLight’s CEO, said: “MolecuLight is committed to protecting these investments in R&D, and to bringing novel technologies to clinicians for the ultimate benefit of improved patient care. We respect the patent systems in place around the world that help protect our and others’ technologies, and we do not seek patent protection on previously known technology.”

GlobalData’s Medical Device Intelligence Centre found that the market for wound management in North America stood at around $13.2bn in 2023, with that figure expected to rise to $17bn by the end of 2030.

Medical Device Network reached out to Swift Medical but received no response.

In the UK, there has been a wide-ranging patent dispute over continuous glucose monitoring devices between Abbott and Dexcom, with Abbott experiencing a defeat in its infringement claim at the UK High Court.