VasoNova makes a system that uses Doppler ultrasound and intravascular ECG to help cardiologists place catheters in the heart. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company sued Bard Access Systems and former chief technology officer Sorin Grunwald in May, accusing them of stealing technology Grunwald developed at VasoNova and using the trade secrets to start Romedex International. That company later sold its VasoNova-competing Sapiens TLS device to Bard Access Systems.
"The essence of the first amended complaint is that Grunwald developed the inventions while he was employed by VasoNova and therefore Grunwald should have turned the inventions over to VasoNova before he left but instead stole them, that is, stole VasoNova’s inventions, which at that stage were trade secrets, and then sought to convert these secrets to patents," wrote Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for Northern California, according to court documents.
The lawsuit accuses Bard of trade secret misappropriation, conversion, unfair competition, tortious interference with contract and seeks declaratory judgment and quiet title. Bard moved to dismiss all the charges in August.
To prove its case, VasoNova needs to establish that it owned the trade secrets that led to the Sapiens TLS, that Bard used the trade secrets improperly and that those actions hurt VasoNova. Alsup denied Bard’s motion to dismiss the trade secret misappropriation and declined to issue declaratory relief, but granted Bard’s moves to quash the interference, conversion and unfair competition claims. Alsup also denied VasoNova’s move to quiet title.
"VasoNova has failed to allege that Bard was the ‘moving cause’ of Grunwald’s breach of the confidentiality and separation agreements. The first amended complaint demonstrates that the performance of the agreements had been abandoned and discontinued by Grunwald 2 years prior to Bard’s involvement. Therefore, defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s tortious interference with contract claim for relief is, as to Bard, granted," Alsup wrote, according to the documents.