St. Jude reports progress in lawsuits against Volcano

legal gavel illustration

Long-time rivals St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) and Volcano (NSDQ:VOLC) are looking to push forward on a pair of lawsuits involving trade secrets and patent infringement.

A Delaware court last month entered judgment on a jury verdict in St. Jude’s favor, ruling that St. Jude did not infringe on Volcano’s fractional flow reserve technology, according to a recent regulatory filing.

It may not be the last word on the lawsuit, which is going on 3 years, as both companies have filed for motions as a matter of law and St. Jude has filed for a new trial regarding its own infringement claims against Volcano.

The firms in 2010 sued each other over the FFR technology, which measures arterial blood flow, with St. Jude accusing Volcano of violating its IP for the PressureWire FFR device and Volcano alleging the same for its PrimeWire FFR system.

St. Jude is also looking to move forward in another legal battle against Volcano. St. Jude filed a motion to lift a stay on a trade secrets case involving optical coherence tomography imaging technology.

The dispute involves laser technology developed by Axsun Technologies and sold to St. Jude subsidiary LightLab Imaging for use in OCT imaging systems.

LightLab and Axsun had worked together to develop a tunable laser, and the companies have a temporary, but exclusive, agreement for the technology for use in certain capacities. Volcano acquired Axsun in 2008, and LightLab filed lawsuits against both companies shortly after.

St. Jude and LightLab landed a legal win in January 2011 when a Massachusetts court ruled that Volcano and Axsun violated state law "through a pattern of inappropriate conduct directed at key technology used in the company’s Optical Coherence Tomography product platform," St. Jude said at the time. The court later ordered Volcano and Axsun to reimburse St. Jude for attorney’s fees as well as "double damages."

LightLab initiated a new lawsuit in May 2011 with the aim of enforcing the exclusive contract with Axsun and preventing Volcano from interfering.

A Delaware court in May 2012 granted Volcano a motion to stay proceedings in order to provide the company time to demonstrate "intent to begin clinical trials or engage in other public activities with an OCT imaging system that uses a type of light source that is in dispute in the lawsuit," according to St. Jude’s filing.

Last month St. Jude filed for an order to proceed with that lawsuit, through which the company hopes to obtain an official order preventing Volcano from interfering with LightLab Imaging’s exclusive OCT technology contract with Axsun

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