Bard Wins Round as High Court Rejects Gore Patent Appeal

C.R. Bard Inc., a maker of catheters, moved closer to collecting hundreds of millions of dollars as the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. in a patent lawsuit over vascular grafts.

The justices today left intact a $185 million jury verdict against Gore, the company behind the waterproof Gore-Tex fabrics. The court gave no explanation, rejecting Gore’s appeal as part of a list of orders released today in Washington.

The potential award has risen with interest, royalties and fees. Gore owed more than $900 million as of September, Bard said in a regulatory filing last year. A trial judge in Arizona is revisiting part of the award -- $185 million assessed for acting intentionally, along with related legal fees.

Bard rose as much as 1.5 percent after the Supreme Court issued the order, before falling later in the day. For the day, shares dropped 45 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $102.68 at 4:15 p.m. in New York.

The case began in 2003 and involves a dispute dating back to 1974. At issue is a tube that helps retain the shape of non-coronary blood vessels using a substance similar to DuPont Co.’s Teflon, according to the patent.

At the Supreme Court, Gore argued unsuccessfully that one of its employees was a co-inventor of the grafts. Closely held Gore, a Newark, Delaware-based maker of surgical products and fibers, says it uses the substance for its Gore-Tex fabrics.

The two sides are still battling over the award at the trial court in Arizona. Gore is seeking a new trial while Bard is asking a judge to let the company collect more than $740 million. Bard is based in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

The Supreme Court case is W.L. Gore v. C.R. Bard, 12-458. The district court case is Bard Peripheral Vascular v. W.L. Gore & Associates, 03cv597, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

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