St. Jude Medical alleges patent infringement, stolen trade secrets

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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.

In a complaint filed July 26 in Ramsey County District Court, STJ accused former group president Joseph McCullough of dirty dealings in his move to Medtronic. McCullough had “complete and unfettered” access to its “most sensitive and confidential” information concerning global operations, according to the lawsuit. He is alleged to have pilfered information regarding St. Jude’s pending entry into the minimally invasive heart valve market, the newspaper reported, including knowledge of each product’s profit margin.

The lawsuit alleges that McCullough, 60, left STJ voluntarily in May to work at Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic as its international general manager, cardiovascular commercial operations, developed markets, according to the Star Tribune. St. Jude alleged it would “suffer substantial damage and irreparable harm if such information were to be disclosed or fall into the hands” of a competitor, according to the newspaper.

Material from MedCity News was used in this report.

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