In my experience, these lawsuits are just a money grab. I doubt a judge would, even in the worst case, issue a judgment so harsh that it threatened Insulet's ongoing viability. Most of these things are settled out of court.
This makes me angry that a HUGE company like Medtronic would sue a small company like Insulet (as well as others.) Do they really need more money? I don't think so. When I visited the Medtronic headquarters in Northridge, I was shocked by the lavishness of their facility. Made me feel kind of sick...
Smiths Medical lost with Medtronic and had to pay many dollars for the past and royalties on each Cozmo pump sold: they left the diabetes market.
link at a forum about it
Oh, ok; it changed in 1995. From then on patents run 20 years from the *filing* date, before that it was 17 years from the date the patent office actually issued the patent (which could be a long time after filing.)
The change over effectively started to happen this year - companies still have to worry about patents filed before 1992 that weren't issued until after 1995, but that consideration will disappear over the next three years.
These patents look suspect for covering the OmniPod system. For starters, the claims seem to be limited to systems using a tubed infusion device with a display and keypad, which is also capable of being programmed without the remote controller.
1. The cover page of the '878 patent shows a figure with remote control of a traditional insulin pump with a display, tubes and a keypad.
2. All of the Figures show a traditional insulin pump with a display, tubes and a keypad.
3. "One drawback [of insulin pump therapy] is the inability to conceal an external infusion pump and catheter tubing from view. Many users desire to hide the external pump under clothing so as not to seem different from normal people. However, this is inconvenient or impractical, especially for diseases such as diabetes, since a user must have ready access to the external pump for monitoring or administering extra amounts of medication (i.e., boluses during the course of the day). If a user has concealed the external pump, the user must partially undress or carefully maneuver the external pump to a location that permits access to the display and keypad." '878 patent at col. 1, lines 55-65.
In contrast, the OmniPod system uses an infusion mechanism that lacks keys, tubing, and a display like the keyed, tubed traditional insulin pumps with a display contemplated by the '878 patent (and the '276 patent, which is similar). Whereas the remote control in the Medtronic patents is optional for controlling insulin delivery, the remote control in the OmniPod system is mandatory for controlling insulin pump delivery.
On a separate note, the '878 patent is a corporate document written and approved by Medtronic. Shame on Medtronic for calling non-diabetics "normal people." (See my Point #3 above.) I guess us diabetics are "abnormal people." I'm glad I ditched Medtronic's second-rate insulin delivery system years ago.
Jaybear The Abnormal
The problem was Samsung wasn't being innovative. It was pursuing its own development path for smartphones, and once iOS came along, Samsung radically changed course and copied iOS. Court documents showed that even Google's execs warned Samsung that Samsung's implementation of Android was dangerously close to iOS.
It looks like Medtronic's patents cover its systems, so I wouldn't say that Medtronic is asserting vaporware patents against Insulet. Whether Medtronic's patents actually cover the OmniPod system is a different issue (see my post below, and also shown by the fact that Medtronic has been sitting on them for years and waited until now to assert them).
Medtronic won't crush Insulet with this lawsuit, and the OmniPod system is here to stay. At most, there will be some cash changing hands.
No chance, really. Medtronic owns US patents, and it's free to assert them against alleged infringers in federal court.
I agree with you on Medtronic's pace of development of its own products. I used a Medtronic pump for 20 years, and Medtronic's only "innovations" during that time were (1) switch from calculator-watch batteries to AAA batteries, (2) a backlight for the display, (3) slightly more information on the display, (4) detachable infusion sets, and (5) ...drumroll please...pumps in different colors!
You know, the world is in a sad state when a large successful organization like Medtronic chooses to spend millions (if not much more) trying to prevent others from improving life sustaining technology rather than invest in their own technology improvements. Why not spend the money making your's better? Ditch the tubes, it can be done. Clearly it's just about money.
I could perhaps sympathize if their techology was stolen or duplicated, but IMHO, there's no comparison at all. Tubes versus Tubeless? C'mon, thats like Ford suing GM because they made a car with four wheels - it's rediculous.
I really wonder what life saving technologies have been delayed or abandoned for fear of being sued by one of the biggies. C'mon Medtronic, do the right thing and use your big profits for good instead of evil.
This is ridiculous. They should look the other way for the beep infringement and allow diabetes patients to benefit from Insulet doing what Medtronic can't or won't do--create a patch pump. This isn't a consumer product where they should sit on patents to maximize profit--they should be a patient advocate and push advancements.
Ugh, Medtronic is a business looking out for its cash cow. I begrudgingly admit this is their right and the suit against Insulet may have technical merits but it is hard to like them. 'Course I've never liked them anyway! They've always struck me as more focused on doctors and customizing pumps with us in mind (like Cozmo) has never seemed important to them.
Its this kind of monopolistic mentality without innovation which makes me nauseous about having a "leader" in the industry who fails to update their products sufficiently and gets by on selling their old tech and not putting much into research and development... MDT is a cash cow.. Waiting for the shoe to drop on the antitrust violations...
Are you sending all this information to Insulet? Maybe you could help them out.:)
UPDATE: Insulet Reaches Settlement and Cross-License Agreement With Medtronic
All in all it costs 10 million $ to insulet, and some patents licenced to medtronic.
Perhaps a Medtronic patch pump is now less far to come ;-)
Thanks garidan. Good to know someone is paying attention and keeping us in the loop. $10 Million, huh? Just think what kind of research that money could have gone into to improve our lives rather then wasted along with likely enormous legal fees on both sides. It makes me sick to think that my $100 donation to diabetes research needs to be added to the other 99,999 donaters of $100 each has to be used to pay the bill. Maybe now our dollars can start getting some research done.
Medronic - It would be nice (or the right thing) if you could use some of your new found cash, milked from the only company with enough brains and balls to come up with a tubeless pump, to come up with a competitive product that does away with the damn tubes. C’mon now, do the right thing. I’m just sayin.
Omnipods are alive and well in the UK - where in Europe are you?
I'm from Italy: it's 3 years Ypsomed says it's going to come in our market with omnipod, but nothing happens...
What was curious to me about the whole patent issue was the date of the actual patent and the date that Insulet started creation of the omnipod. It appears that the patent was granted AFTER Insulet started the whole project, but as usual, the US Govt patent office is so bogus and patents are so wide spread ideas typically, that I am wondering why I am allowed to breathe air since I am sure someone somewhere thinks that breathing air was their idea and I should pay them for the privilege. Most patents are really really general ideas with very little specifics to describe what is actually patented. Patents are traded around like you would not believe, and several major corporations own somewhere around 90% of all patents anyway. They just typically don't enforce them until someone else starts to make money on the idea, they wait a few years until that company can afford to pay them a couple million, THEN they sue.