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Smith & Nephew foam dressing draws KCI patent suit

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

S&N's debut of a foam dressing kit for negative pressure wound therapy, announced Dec. 11, prompts competitor Kinetic Concepts to sue S&N for infringement of three patents licensed to KCI from Wake Forest University. The San Antonio federal court case is set for trial in October 2009. The latest charges add to previous KCI infringement claims that stem from before S&N's 2007 acquisition of negative pressure wound therapy device maker BlueSky Medical (1"The Gray Sheet" May 14, 2007, p. 16). S&N notes that its wound care customers will now be able to choose between gauze or foam as a wound interface for its NPWT treatment. Currently only NPWT market leader KCI and Innovative Therapies offer foam dressings, and wound nurses prefer foam over gauze, according to Wachovia analyst Michael Matson. S&N's move is a "game changer" that "shifts the competitive dynamics in its favor," and any injunction sought by KCI is "likely to take time and is far from certain," Matson says in a Dec. 12 report

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Smith & Nephew injunction

U.K. court grants Kinetic Concepts a temporary injunction prohibiting S&N from marketing foam dressing kits for negative pressure wound therapy in the United Kingdom until the High Court of Justice of England and Wales can rule on the related patent infringement suit. A trial date will be set for some time after March 23. S&N notes that the injunction does not apply outside the U.K. In the U.S, a San Antonio federal court is scheduled to hear the patent case in October (1"The Gray Sheet" Dec. 15, 2008, In Brief)

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Smith & Nephew's entry into the rapidly growing, $1.2 billion market for negative pressure wound therapy via the purchase of BlueSky Medical likely will intensify competition in the treatment category

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