Most trade disputes between medical device companies involve intellectual property (IP). While the conflict between LightLab and Volcano is relatively small compared to others in the medical device industry (e.g. check out last year’s $1.7B battle between Boston Scientific and J&J), the lessons to be learned are large.
Briefly, Volcano is developing a competing product to LightLab’s OCT system, and accelerated their program by purchasing LightLab’s laser supplier Axsun. The dispute involves allegations of patent infringement, unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, and contract performance issues.
At the end of January, both LightLab and Volcano issued press releases claiming victory in the most recent rulings. Eric Swanson, LightLab co-founder and editor of Optical Coherence Tomography News, just posted an entertaining summary of the recent court documents. Despite these rulings, the legal skirmishes will continue, and the only safe prediction is that the lawyers will be the winners.
What are the lessons learned?