The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal by Baxter International (BAX -0.1%) in a dialysis machine patent suit with Fresenius Medical Care (FMS -0.7%). The issue is whether a court can throw out a patent infringement judgement in a case where the patent office decides that a patent is invalid while the litigation is in process. The court's action means that the July 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals remains intact whereby it threw out a $24M judgment in favor of Baxter.
Biotech and pharma industry groups urged the court to hear the case because the appeals court ruling creates uncertainty due to the encouragement of time-wasting dual-track litigation.
Fresenius originally challenged the Baxter patent in 2003. Baxter counter-sued and won a judgement in 2012 that required the former to pay for infringement. During the litigation, Fresenius asked the patent office to reconsider the validity of the patent which it did in 2010.