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Heska wins partial summary judgment in Synbiotics patent case.

Heska Corporation (Fort Collins, CO; 970-493-7272) announced that it has received partial summary judgment in the litigation brought by Synbiotics Corporation, which claims that Heska's feline and canine heartworm diagnostic products infringe one of their patents. On September 8, 2000, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted Heska's request for partial summary judgment, holding two of the claims of Synbiotics' patent to be invalid. The court's ruling concluded that "Claims 1 and 6 of United States Patent 4,789,631 are invalid as a matter of law" because they "are anticipated by a prior art reference." The judge's decision removes those claims from the case.

Robert Grieve, chairman and chief executive officer of Heska, commented, "We are particularly pleased with the judge's ruling because courts do not routinely grant summary judgment. This decision invalidates two of Synbiotics' three claims in this suit. With respect to the one remaining claim, we have thoroughly examined the scientific and legal issues surrounding this claim and are confident that our products do not infringe.

We also have obtained opinions from outside patent counsel that our heartworm diagnostic products do not infringe the patent and that the remaining patent claim is invalid.

"Heska has always been a strong proponent of intellectual property rights. In the United States, we currently have 84 issued patents and 128 patents pending. We have a great deal of respect for the intellectual property rights of others and routinely license technology from third parties, where appropriate. In this case, we believe strongly that we do not infringe the remaining claim. We plan to continue to vigorously defend ourselves and look forward to trying this case to bring it to a successful resolution. No trial date has been set."

Heska discovers, develops, manufactures and markets companion animal health products, primarily for dogs, cats and horses. Heska has a sophisticated scientific effort devoted to applying biotechnology to the large and growing companion animal health market. Heska also offers diagnostic and patient monitoring instrumentation and supplies, as well as laboratory diagnostic products in the United States and Europe to veterinarians, and operates a USDA- and FDA-licensed facility, which manufactures vaccines and pharmaceutical products.
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Comment:Heska wins partial summary judgment in Synbiotics patent case.
Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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