St. Jude Medical alleges patent infringement, stolen trade secrets

July 27, 2010 by MassDevice staff

St. Jude Medical Inc. files a patent infringement lawsuit against Volcano Corp. over cardiac guidewires and accuses a former group president of pilfering trade secrets in his move to crosstown rival Medtronic Inc.

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St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) filed a pair of lawsuits accusing two of its rivals of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets.

The Little Canada, Minn.-based medical device maker filed a lawsuit against Volcano Corp. (NSDQ:VOLC) in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, accusing it of violating a quintet of patents St. Jude acquired in its 2008 buyout of Radi Medical Systems AB, a Swedish guidewire maker. The patents cover STJ's PressureWire system, which uses a sensor to measure arterial blood pressure by calculating fractional flow reserve associated with stenosis in patients with coronary artery disease, according to court documents.

The lawsuit alleges that San Diego-based Volcano's PrimeWire system violates the patents. St. Jude wants a jury to decide whether it's due a judgment of infringement, a permanent injunction barring further infringement, damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, royalties on any infringing sales and legal fees.

Volcano said it plans to "vigorously defend" against the lawsuit.

"Volcano believes that the claims against it are entirely without merit, and looks forward to vindicating its rights in court," the company said in a press release.

It's not the only lawsuit St. Jude has going against Volcano, which did not return a call seeking comment. Lightlab Imaging Inc., which STJ acquired earlier this month, won a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court against Billerica, Mass.-based Volcano subsidiary Axsun Technologies. Volcano acquired Axsun in 2008.

St. Jude is in court in its home state, too, accusing a former executive of violating a non-compete agreement and sharing confidential information with Twin Cities rival Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT), according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.