Advanced Bionics appeals German court ruling on HiRes Ultra 3D CI patent infringement suit brought by MED-EL



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Sonova's cochlear implant subsidiary, Advanced Bionics (AB), has announced it is appealing a judgement reached against it by a German regional court that upheld a patent infringement claim brought by the Austria-based implantable hearing technology firm, MED-EL.

The judgement, which includes an injunction that could impact AB sales of the HiRes Ultra 3D cochlear implant in and from Germany, is the most significant action so far in a complex case also being heard—to diverse timelines—in courts in other territories such as the UK and USA.

On March 8, 2022, Sonova released the following announcement from its headquarters in Stäfa, Switzerland:

Sonova Holding AG, a leading provider of hearing care solutions, informs that the Regional Court of Mannheim in Germany has reached a judgment in the first instance in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH (Med-El) against its German subsidiary Advanced Bionics GmbH and Swiss subsidiary Advanced Bionics AG (AB). The court’s judgment includes an injunction which, if and when enforced by Med-El, would prevent sales of the HiRes Ultra 3D cochlear implant in and from Germany. AB believes the complaint has no merit and has therefore appealed the judgment. The judgment does not affect Sonova’s guidance for financial year 2021/22.

Sonova's statement goes on to assert AB's intention to wait until MED-EL might enforce the granted injuction before discontinuing—in the territory under the German court's jurisdiction—sales of the flagship device at the centre of the dispute. The Swiss firm also assesses its expected losses should the injunction be enforced: AB will continue to offer its existing and also 1.5T MRI-safe product HiRes Ultra and related accessories in Germany. If enforced, the injunction by Med-El is expected to reduce annual revenues by a mid- to high-single digit million euro amount.

"AB strongly disagrees with the judgment and has appealed the decision. In connection with the appeal, AB will request the appellate court to issue a temporary stay of enforcement of the injunction," the statement continues.

MED-EL CEO Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, has "respectfully advised that she’s unable to comment at this time," said the firm's Public Affairs and Corporate Communications office.

Source: Sonova/MED-EL/Casemine