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Supreme Court rejects Boston Scientific patent appeal


(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away an appeal by Boston Scientific Corp. of a Maryland state court jury verdict ordering the medical device company to pay $308 million to a patent licensor for breach of contract concerning implantable cardiac devices.

Boston Scientific had asked the justices to hear its appeal in the dispute over its licenses to patented technology on the implantable devices owned by Mirowski Family Ventures, arguing the Maryland court made mistakes applying patent law, a job typically reserved for federal courts.

In its lawsuit, Maryland-based Mirowski claimed Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific did not pay all the royalties it owed after acquiring Guidant Corp, which had licensed the patents, and then settling patent infringement litigation involving Guidant.

The patents related to devices that can correct irregular heart rhythms, preventing cardiac arrest.
In 2014, a state jury awarded Mirowski about $308 million in royalties and damages for breaching a license agreement. The Maryland Court of Appeals refused to hear the appeal last July.

Boston Scientific said the judge in the Maryland Circuit Court violated federal precedents by refusing to interpret the meaning of one of the patents, saying the task made him feel "queasy."

The case illustrates the hazards of relegating highly technical and complex issues of patent law to state courts, Boston Scientific said.

Mirowski had urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal, arguing the state court judge merely adopted the meaning of the patent made by a federal judge in a previous case.