Volcano accuses St. Jude of patent fraud

September 21, 2010 by MassDevice staff

Volcano Corp. accuses St. Jude Medical Inc. of fraudulently obtaining a pair of patents in the latest go-round between the companies over their arterial blood pressure measurement technologies.

STJ, VOLV logos

Volcano Corp. (NSDQ:VOLC) accused rival St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) of patent fraud in the latest round of a legal war over technology designed to measure arterial blood pressure.

St. Jude sued San Diego-based Volcano in July, 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 Little Canada, Minn.-based medical device maker's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, 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's counter-claim denies the allegations and levels some accusations of its own against St. Jude, namely that a pair of the patents in the suit are unenforceable because St. Jude concealed information from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in obtaining the patents, according to court documents.

The St. Jude lawyer who filed for the patents and two of the three inventors named on them deliberately withheld information from the USPTO examiner on the case, the counterclaim alleges. The deception fooled the examiner into concluding that the patents' claims were "novel and non-obvious ... when, in fact, the claimed inventions were well known in the art and had previously been invented by scientists at [Volcano predecessor] Cardiometrics Inc."

"[T]he information withheld from the USPTO by these individuals in violation of their duty to the USPTO was withheld with intent to deceive," according to the documents.