Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Federal jury awards Spectralytics $22.2 million

Feb. 9, 2009

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

DASSEL, MN – A federal jury awarded $22.2 million to Spectralytics of Dassel last Monday after a patent-infringement case involving heart stent machinery.

“This is a huge victory for Spectralytics. We give all praise to God,” said Gary Oberg, president of Spectralytics.

Oberg didn’t want to go into detail Tuesday about how Cordis Corp. of New Brunswick, NJ, and its supplier copied Spectrolytics’ stent manufacturing equipment, because Cordis Corp. has time to appeal the verdict, he said.

The unit in question is an attachment put on a laser beam that facilitates cutting stents, Oberg said.

Spectralytics is a component manufacturer for the medical device market, and is located at 145 S. 3rd St. in Dassel’s Red Rooster Industrial Park.

The attachment was developed in 1995, and patented in 1998, according to Neal St. Anthony in the Star Tribune Tuesday.

After Vice President Al Cheney received a stent in his cardiovascular system, the story was featured in a news program in 2001 on PBS-TV. The program showed the machine that made the stent, and it looked suspiciously like Spectralytics’ machine, according to Alan Carlson, the patent attorney representing Spectralytics.

In 2004, the company began to suspect Cordis Corp., another stent manufacturing company and a division of Johnson and Johnson, and its supplier, Normal Noble, were infringing on the Spectralytics patent.

Spectralytics sued in 2005. Cordis declined an opportunity to acquire a license under Spectralytics’ patent, and allegedly continued to use Norman Noble to manufacture stents, St. Anthony said.

Spectralytics received a court order in 2007-08 to go into the Norman Noble plant and look at the machines up close, Carlson said.

A federal jury found that both Cordis, and Norman Noble, a competitor of Spectralytics, willfully infringed on the Dassel company’s patent, Carlson said.

More court rulings on damages and attorneys’ fees are expected, St. Anthony said.

Carlson estimated the appeal process might last up to a year.


 

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