The Mass. Institute of Technology is suing Still River Systems Inc. for rights to the company’s technology.
The school filed a complaint Dec. 17 in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts alleging that the Littleton, Mass.-based radiation-therapy developer incorrectly left an MIT researcher out of a patent granted to the company’s founder and CTO, Kenneth Gall, in June.
MIT demanded that it be named as an owner or co-owner of patent 7,728,311, "Charged Particle Radiation Therapy," because of its rights to the work of MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center research engineer Timothy Antaya, whom the school alleges to have conceived one or more of the inventions in the patent, according to the court documents.
In the fall of 2002, Gall approached Antaya because he could not find anyone else who could develop a "synchrocyclotron for a single-room proton beam radio therapy treatment center," — a modified cyclotron, or particle accelerator — according to court documents. In July 2004, Gall entered into an agreement with MIT for Still River to sponsor Antaya’s research, to allow the MIT scientist to "develop a working synchrocyclotron for certain medical applications," so that the company could determine whether a commercially-viable synchrocyclotron with its specifications "was even possible," according to court documents.
From that time through Febrary 2005, Antaya sent Gall at least four memos about his progress in developing a device that could be mounted for patient treatment. MIT alleges that Gall’s patent includes material from Antaya’s messages, including figures included in the memos.
MIT lawyers sent a letter to Still River in September 2010 demanding that Antaya be named as an inventor on Gall’s patent, but the company refused, according to court documents.
Still River‘s Monarch-250 proton beam radiotherapy device, which is still in development, has technology that includes "a cyclotron [and] proton beam delivery system," according to the company’s website. Gall "originated the design principles of the Monarch-250 PBRT System and founded Still River Systems in 2004," according to his bio on the site.