SOURCE: BioVentrix

October 16, 2007 12:26 ET

BioVentrix Loses Round One in Patent Infringement Trial

SAN RAMON, CA--(Marketwire - October 16, 2007) - After a three-week trial, a jury rendered a verdict of "willful" patent infringement in a dispute filed against CHF Technologies, Inc., d/b/a BioVentrix, of San Ramon, CA. Chase Medical of Richardson, Texas sued BioVentrix alleging its Blue Egg Sizer™, a hollow, blue silicone device used to guide surgeons in surgically resizing the heart, infringed patents held by Chase. Chase claimed the Blue Egg Sizer was similar to its clear, firm, balloon-like apparatus used in similar procedures.

Chase's case focused primarily on obsolete marketing material, website content that was retracted in early 2005 by BioVentrix, and an abandoned patent application. BioVentrix, represented by Sayles & Werbner, a Dallas law firm, mounted a very technical defense challenging the validity of the Chase patent.

Arthur Bertolero, Co-Founder of BioVentrix, reacted cautiously. "We were very careful of the plaintiff's intellectual property when we designed the Blue Egg. We looked at the limitations imposed by their device and produced something very different, a substantial improvement over the Chase device. We never intended to infringe and are concerned that the jury found an intentional breach. We are respectful of the importance and sovereignty of the patent process, and are disappointed with the verdict."

"This verdict ignores the fact that the Blue Egg Sizer is substantially different from the Chase patents and represented a substantial advancement in the treatment of CHF," said Richard Sayles. "If all juries were to interpret patent law as this one did, we'd still be using the iron lung for breathing problems." He went on, "The case we mounted was scientific, while the plaintiff played on the jury's sentiment. Fortunately a very high percentage of cases like this one are overturned on appeal."

Kenneth Miller, President and CEO of BioVentrix, stated, "We recognize the authority of the Federal Court and the jury system, and will abide by the Judge's final ruling, but remain confident that we will ultimately prevail. We remain committed to our objective of developing innovative alternatives for the treatment of heart failure, and are disappointed that the attributes of our first generation product have been misconstrued. We will continue to pioneer the development of devices for heart failure."

"We have tried to reason with Chase for three years," said Miller. "Heart failure is the fastest growing epidemic in the U.S. and primarily attacks the growing and vulnerable geriatric population. There is plenty of room for two competitors in this market. If the final ruling of the Judge is adverse, we intend to appeal the decision. Unfortunately, there are already surgeons who will be left without a safe way to treat some of their sickest patients. The public has already been harmed."

About BioVentrix:

BioVentrix is a private corporation based in San Ramon, California. Its mission is to improve and expand on the surgical treatment of heart failure by left ventricular reconstruction, primarily through the development of less invasive approaches, and ultimately, catheter-based procedures. BioVentrix' Scientific Advisory Board and associated physicians include some of the country's leading heart surgeons and cardiologists.

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