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February 9, 2012

Pitt wins patent case

A federal court jury in Pittsburgh has ruled in the University’s favor in a patent-infringement suit against Varian Medical Systems.

The jury’s Jan. 26 decision found that Varian, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based manufacturer of medical devices, willfully infringed on two patents owned by the University with Varian’s Real-time Position Management Respiratory Gating System (RPM System) product.

Jury selection for a separate trial on damages is set for Feb. 21.

The RPM System synchronizes imaging and radiation therapy treatment with a patient’s breathing to more effectively target tumors when treating cancer of the lung, breast, liver and pancreas.

The University’s claim was based on two patents issued in 1998: “Apparatus responsive to movement of a patient during treatment/diagnosis” and “Apparatus for matching X-ray images with reference images.”

The two patents were assigned to the University in 1996 by inventors Andre M. Kalend, Joel Greenberger, Karun B. Shimoga, Charalambos N. Athanassiou and Takeo Kanade.

John Fedele, associate director of news, told the University Times, “The University of Pittsburgh is very pleased with the jury’s finding of willful infringement.  Since the litigation is still pending, we have no further comment.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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