Volcano Corp. (NSDQ:VOLC) declared victory in the latest round of a legal battle with St Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) subsidiary LightLab Imaging Inc.
The Superior Court of Massachusetts rejected LightLab’s claims for protection of five alleged trade secrets relating to laser technologies and denied all of the coronary imaging firm’s requests for permanent injunctions, according to Volcano.
“We are pleased with this ruling as it validates our position regarding these purported trade secrets. Volcano will continue to vigorously defend the remaining claims in this litigation as we focus on executing our growth strategy,” Volcano CEO Scott Huennekens said in prepared remarks.
The Mass. court’s decision "is only one ruling of a much broader case involving 30 trade secret claims" against Volcano and subsidiary Axsun Technologies Inc, St. Jude spokeswoman Kate Stoltenberg wrote in an email. St. Jude plans to continue litigating the contractual rights and intellectual property case, Stoltenberg told MassDevice.
Before its acquisition by St. Jude, LightLab launched a suit against Billerica, Mass.-based Axsun accusing it of violating a contract the companies signed prior to Axsun’s 2008 acquisition by San Diego, Calif.-based Volcano.
In February, a Mass. Superior Court jury found that Axsun violated that contract, which covers the company’s agreement to supply tunable lasers to LightLab until 2016, and that Volcano interfered with LightLab’s business relationship with Axsun. The companies agreed that Axsun would pay damages of $200,000 during the second phase of the trial, but no damages have yet been awarded. According to the terms of the deal, Axsun also agreed not to sell any of its lasers for use in other cardiology imaging applications during the life of the contract. Volcano does not have any products that use Axsun’s technology, a company spokeswoman told MassDevice.
St. Jude’s Stoltenberg said that today’s ruling does not call into question the "significant jury verdict from February 2010," adding that the decision "does not change the Superior Court of Massachusetts’ verdict against Axsun Technologies, ruling that the company must ban the sale of its lasers to Volcano for all fields of use, not just the field of human coronary artery imaging."
In July, St. Jude filed a pair of lawsuits against Volcano 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 Little Canada, Minn.-based medical device maker alleged 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.
In the next round of a legal war over technology designed to measure arterial blood pressure, Volcano brought counter-claim that denies the allegations in September. The suit also leveled 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. Volcano also accused St. Jude of violating three of its patents, calling STJ’s PressureWire and its RadiAnalyzer Xpress products infringing.
A trial on the remaining trade secret claims has not yet been scheduled.