Summary Judgment in Favor of COPAN Against Puritan Medical Products’ Claim for Bad Faith Assertion of Patent Infringement
September 10, 2018 - Brescia, Italy
Maine’s highest court, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, affirmed a summary judgment entered in favor of Copan Italia S.p.A. and against Puritan Medical Products Company, LLC on Puritan’s state law claim for bad faith assertion of patent infringement.
Puritan unsuccessfully claimed in 2015 that Copan had violated Maine’s “Actions for Bad Faith Assertion of Patent Infringement” statute, 14 M.R.S. § 8701, by informing customers of Copan’s long-held belief that Puritan was infringing patents covering Copan’s core flocked swab technology. Copan is the global leader in preanalytical collection and transport devices serving the microbiology and medical communities, and the court recognized that “Copan has developed, produced, and marketed flocked swabs since 2003.”
Earlier, in April 2017, Copan had prevailed on summary judgment when the trial court held that it was “clear to the Court that Copan did not act in bad faith when asserting patent infringement by Puritan.” Puritan appealed its trial court loss, and Copan cross-appealed, challenging the trial court’s conclusion that Puritan’s claim was not preempted by federal law. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Copan and noted that “Puritan failed to pinpoint any incorrect statement or falsity in the [Copan] demand letter.” Maine’s high court then affirmed the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Copan, holding that federal patent law preempted Puritan’s state law claim because “Copan’s assertion of patent infringement was not objectively baseless.”
On June 4, 2018, Copan filed a separate lawsuit against Puritan in the United States District Court for the District of Maine alleging Puritan’s infringement of several of Copan’s U.S. patents relating to flocked swabs and various acts of unfair competition.
Lorenzo Fumagalli, General Counsel at Copan, stated: “It took some time and resources to defend ourselves from what we rightly believed were meritless claims, but, ultimately, we are very happy that both decisions taken by Maine’s courts have been completely in our favor. We can now properly focus on the real issue, which is Puritan’s longstanding infringement of our patents and unfair competition in the marketplace.”
About COPAN Group With a reputation for innovation, the family-owned COPAN Group is the leading manufacturer of collection and transport systems in the world. COPAN's collaborative approach to innovation in pre-analytics has resulted in the original FLOQSwabs™, ESwab™, FecalSwab™ and UTM™, as well as Full Laboratory Automation. COPAN's collection and tranport systems have been proven to advance the quality of traditional and contemporary microbiology assays. With 60 colleagues throughout the US, and a network of strong partners, COPAN Diagnostics is a subsidiary of COPAN Group to serve customers throughout North and South America. For more information, visit www.copangroup.com.