Medtronic, Boston Scientific win spine patent battle against rival

Spinal Tech

An appeal board for the European Patent Office has revoked a pain management system patent belonging to California-based medical device company Nevro following a challenge from its competitors Medtronic and Boston Scientific, according to a Feb. 20 report from the Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review. 

The decision invalidates Nevro's patent entitled "Multi-frequency Neural Treatments and Associated Systems and Methods." 

The first claim of the patent describes a system for treating pain with spinal cord stimulation therapy. The device sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord to mask pain signals from reaching the brain. 

In 2015 and 2016, Medtronic and Boston Scientific filed oppositions to the patent that were rejected by the EPO in 2019. Both companies appealed EPO's decision. 

Medtronic and Boston Scientific claimed the patent was invalid under inter alia, or added subject matter, claiming Nevro displayed a lack of willingness to provide details of its claim construction during oral proceedings.

Nevro requested the board of appeals to dismiss the appeals based on an auxiliary request submitted during opposition proceedings that amended one of the patent claims, but the board sided with Medtronic and Boston Scientific, saying the amendments took the content of the patent beyond what was originally filed. Nevro ended up withdrawing its contestation to the board. 

In 2022, Boston Scientific paid Nevro $85 million to settle litigation over spinal cord therapy technology. 

Nevro originally earned FDA approval for its Senza spinal cord stimulation system in 2015, with Medtronic and Boston Scientific launching their own spinal cord stimulation devices since then. 

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