This excerpt taken from the ISRG 10-K filed Mar 16, 2005.
Heartport, Inc. License Agreement
Since its inception in the early 1990s, Heartport, Inc. has developed an extensive patent portfolio covering systems and methods for performing many different aspects of minimally invasive heart surgery, including single-and multi-vessel coronary artery bypass grafts, heart valve repair and replacement, and beating heart stabilization. In April 2000, we acquired an exclusive, worldwide license in the field of robotic surgery to much of Heartports portfolio, including issued United States patents and pending United States and foreign applications. The license is royalty-free unless we sell instruments for robotic surgery procedures that are not operated by the robotic surgery system, in which case we pay a small royalty.
Our license will terminate upon the last expiration of the patents licensed from Heartport, which is currently expected to occur in 2015. This termination date may be extended beyond 2015 as a result of actions that could be taken by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, relating to pending patent applications. For example, the USPTO may extend the term of one or more of the patents licensed from Heartport in response to delays by the USPTO during prosecution of the patent application, or if requested, in response to delay by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a medical device. No such extension of the patents from Heartport may be available or requested, and if requested, an extension might not be granted by the USPTO. It is also possible that the USPTO could shorten the term of the last patent licensed from Heartport, so that the last patent may expire before 2015. For example, the USPTO may require that Heartport agree to an earlier expiration date as a condition for granting Heartport a particular patent. Additionally, Heartport might, with our input, ask the USPTO to shorten the term of one or more application or patent. The USPTO also has the power, on its own initiative or at the request of one of our competitors, to initiate proceedings during which Heartport could be required to agree to a shortened patent term. Although we are not aware of any such USPTO proceedings being considered or requested, we cannot guarantee outcome of any such proceedings. Heartport may terminate the license in the event of a material, uncured breach of our obligations. In the event Heartport terminates the license, we do not know whether the necessary or desirable licenses could be reacquired from Heartport on satisfactory terms, if at all.
In April 2001, Heartport became part of the Cardiovations Division of Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company. Our exclusive license survives Johnson & Johnsons acquisition of Heartport. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. therefore is our licensor under the Heartport license.