ResMed Sues For Infringement of Sleep Apnea Patents

April 4, 2013, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Last Thursday, ResMed Inc. filed lawsuits against two companies alleging patent infringement related to devices that help prevent sleep breathing disorders.  Taiwan based Apex Medical Corp., the alleged manufacturer, and Medical Depot Inc., the alleged distributor, who are doing business together as “Drive Medical Design and Manufacturing”, are the target of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court and a complaint filed with the International Trade Commission.

ResMed Inc., which is headquartered in San Diego, California, alleges that the companies are selling or importing sleep disorder breathing treatment systems that infringe seven patents covering products such as humidifiers, flow generators, and respiratory masks.  ResMed has developed many devices and methods for treatment for sleep apnea and other related sleep breathing disorders.  One ResMed product at the center of the dispute is a special mask designed to promote air flow.

ResMed currently has a portfolio of 95 trademarks and 54 registered patents and has been active in protecting its intellectual property, though this is the first time that ResMed has been forced to file a lawsuit related to the patents named in the lawsuit.  Sleep apnea can cause serious health problems if left untreated including high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart problems, trouble concentrating, and stroke.  Roughly 20% of all adults have sleep apnea.

The ITC Complaint states that the defendants manufacture the allegedly infringing products in Taiwan and then arrange for their importation into the U.S.  ResMed is requesting that the ITC permanently bar Apex and Medical Depot from importing the alleged infringing breathing treatment apparatuses into the U.S.

In the District Court case, ResMed is seeking damages in addition to an injunction.  The complaint states that Apex’s XT Fit, iCH Auto, and its Wizard 210 and Wizard 220 masks all infringe its patents. The complaint contains four claims of infringement each against Apex and Drive Medical related to masks, and three more claims against Apex over other devices.  The complaint also seeks damages based on allegations that Apex and Medical Depot’s face-mask type of breathing inventions infringe Resmed’s patents.  The “acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm to ResMed unless and until enjoined by this court,” the complaint said.