Nobel Biocare (VTX:NOBN, OTC:NBHGY) escalated its patent battle against Neodent by asking the International Trade Commission to intervene, after Neodent launched a line of dental implants last March that it imports from Brazil.
Nobel Biocare is based in Zurich and is the target of a $2.2 billion takeover by Danaher (NYSE:DHR). Danaher is based in Washington, D.C.; it plans to make Nobel Biocare the cornerstone of its dental product offerings, maintaining its operations in Switzerland.
Nobel Biocare sued Andover, Mass.-based Neodent USA in August, with Neodent responding that it had obtained intellectual property evaluations before launching the product line and vowing to contest the lawsuit.
In its latest ITC action, Nobel Biocare alleges Neodent USA and JJGC Indústria e Comércio de Materiais Dentários S/A violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act when they imported and sold Neodent’s Drive CM implants that Nobel Biocare claims infringe on its NobelActive line, which it touts as providing stability even in cases where bone is compromised.
Nobel Biocare wants an ITC order for the U.S. Customs & Border Protection to ban imports of the dental implants it is litigating.
"The preliminary design of NobelActive was invented and developed by an Israeli team at AlphaBioTec Ltd – not originally by Nobel Biocare, as many people believe," Neodent USA CEO Tony Susino said in August. "We did our homework before launching our range of implants in the US, especially the Drive CM, and we are confident that we have not infringed any patents."
In the 1st quarter, Nobel Biocare revenue dipped 2% from a year earlier to $177 million, with earnings declining 6% to $15.9 million. Results were impacted in part by a strengthening euro and strife between Ukraine and Russia, which make up a significant part of Nobel Biocare’s sales in Europe.
Nobel Biocare’s sales in the Americas totaled $68.1 million in the first quarter, up 2.5%.