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Aircraft Medical Ready to Fight

Edinburgh-Based Aircraft Medical Ready to Fight £37m Court Action

EDINBURGH, Scotland, January 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Aircraft Medical ("Aircraft"), the UK medical devices company announces that it will rigorously defend a patent infringement case commenced in the Court of Session, Edinburgh by a competitor, Verathon (based in Seattle, USA). Verathon is claiming GBP37m in damages.

Verathon has claimed that the McGrath(R) Series 5 Video Laryngoscope, manufactured by Aircraft Medical in Scotland, infringes its European Patent 1307131, and by some undisclosed means has calculated damages in lost sales of GBP37m.

Aircraft's defences will be based on non-infringement. Verathon's patent describes a laryngoscope having a V-shape blade, comprising two straight sections of equal length. The patent is not relevant to the McGrath(R) Series 5 which features a curved blade, and has other clear differences. Interestingly, Verathon's own current product, the Glidescope(R), does not appear to fall within the scope of its own patent.

In the US, Verathon filed a patent infringement case against Aircraft Medical in Seattle in February 2006, almost a year before the McGrath(R) Series 5 was fully launched into the US. Aircraft Medical succeeded in having that case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Following this, in June 2006, Verathon filed again against Aircraft in Atlanta, Georgia. The federal court has since suspended the Atlanta litigation, because, at Aircraft's request, the U.S. Patent Office is re-examining the validity of Verathon's U.S. patent (number 6,543,447). In fact, at this point the U.S. Patent Office has declared that every claim in the issued '447 patent is invalid, representing a significant setback for Verathon.

Despite its aggressive approach, Verathon has won no court rulings against Aircraft Medical, and there are no restrictions on McGrath(R) sales anywhere in the world.

To date, Aircraft Medical has signed distribution contracts in North America and several European countries. By December 2012, Aircraft Medical's Directors anticipate these contracts could generate cumulative McGrath(R) sales in excess of GBP50m.

Matt McGrath, Chief Executive at Aircraft Medical commented:

"Since the launch of the McGrath(R) Series 5, we have achieved significant sales in the lucrative US market. Verathon is obviously nervous of our success, which is the reason behind its aggressive approach. The infringement claim is wholly inappropriate, and as for claiming GBP37m in damages, this is a completely spurious figure. There is no doubt in my mind that this case will conclude in our favour".

Notes To Editors

Company Background

Founded in 2001, Aircraft Medical is an award winning medical device manufacturer headquartered in Edinburgh. It has strong IP and a expanding distribution network in North America and Europe. Aircraft's award winning management team are focused on developing a significant new brand in healthcare.

The original prototypes for the McGrath(R) Laryngoscope attracted the highest award from the Royal Society of Arts in 1999 in recognition of outstanding design achievement. The technology subsequently has won awards from the Audi Design Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, The Scottish Executive and, in 2006 won the UK National Medical Technology Award.

In January 2008 Aircraft's CEO, Matt McGrath, was named "Young Scot of the Year" in the Institute of Contemporary Scotland Arnold Kemp Awards, in recognition of the invention of the new technology, advancing healthcare, and the subsequent international success of the McGrath(R) Series 5 video laryngoscope. In 2006 Matt was awarded the title of 'Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year' by Scotland's Entrepreneurial Exchange.

The McGrath(R) Series 5

The McGrath(R) Series 5 is the world's first fully portable video laryngoscope. It is the first video laryngoscope with a guaranteed sterile blade, and the first laryngoscope that can vary in length to suit varying anatomy.

Addressing a significant market opportunity the McGrath(R) has been designed specifically to improve the ease and efficiency in Global practice allowing users to intubate as normal but with far less force, with greater ease and much higher levels of success, particularly in more difficult intubations. It should be noted that difficult intubations have an increased risk of patient trauma, broken teeth, cross contamination and, in severe cases, brain damage or death, therefore, providing a better view will reduce these risks substantially.

Medical Background

The design of the McGrath(R) is based on extensive research of the requirements of over 1,500 specialists in laryngoscopy. Due to shortfalls of existing equipment and the level of skill required, several million difficult intubations are experienced each year. Each month in Europe and the United States, there have been an estimated 30 cases of permanent brain damage or death as a result of failed intubations since the 1980's.

Each year in Europe alone, tens of millions of people undergo a medical procedure called Tracheal intubation; this medical procedure allows medics to artificially take control of the patient's breathing. Using a laryngoscope, requires fully qualified anaesthetists, doctors and paramedics to insert a tube through a patient's vocal chords and into their trachea (the vessel which carries air into the lungs).


Diane Stewart/Tim Anderson/James Montgomerie,

Buchanan Communications,


Matt McGrath,

Chief Executive, Aircraft Medical,


SOURCE Aircraft Medical Limited
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