A Medical Device Daily

Cynosure (Westford, Massachusetts), a developer of a broad array of light-based aesthetic treatment systems, reported that the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued a favorable set of rulings in a Markman hearing in the company's patent infringement lawsuit against CoolTouch (Roseville, California).

The lawsuit alleges that CoolTouch's 1320 nm CoolLipo laser system infringes on U.S. patent No. 6,206,873 (the '873 patent), which relates to methods for liquefying and removing subcutaneous fat cells through the use of laser energy.

Cynosure is the exclusive licensee of the '873 patent, which is a fundamental component of the Smartlipo LaserBodyScuplting Workstation. The '873 patent is owned by the company's largest shareholder, El.En. SpA.

The purpose of a Markman hearing is for the court to determine the meaning and scope of the patent claims that the plaintiff asserts are being infringed. In Cynosure's lawsuit, the meaning of four terms used in the '873 patent was contested by CoolTouch. In each instance, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled in Cynosure's favor regarding how those terms should be properly construed at trial.

"Judge Gorton's Memorandum & Order in the Markman hearing supports our position regarding the definition and scope of the '873 patent," said Cynosure President/CEO Michael Davin. "In particular, the court rejected CoolTouch's argument that the patent does not cover a laser where the laser fiber extends beyond the end of the cannula. We are pleased with the outcome of the hearing, which we believe reinforces the intellectual property behind our laser lipolysis technology."

Other key rulings in the Markman hearing concerned terms in CoolTouch's three patents that it has accused Cynosure of infringing. Following the rulings, CoolTouch's infringement claims under two of those patents, U.S. Patent No. 7,217,265 (concerning the treatment of cellulite) and U.S. patent No. 6,451,007 (concerning post-cooling of tissue), were dismissed with prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice means that CoolTouch cannot bring the same claims against Cynosure again.

In other legalities:

• Mentor (Santa Barbara, California) reported a husband and wife from Omaha are suing it and allege that the company's device used to treat stress urinary incontinence was defective and seriously injured the woman.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Jessica Nolan and her husband, Tim.

The Nolans say in their lawsuit that the company knowingly misrepresented the safety and efficacy of the ObTape vaginal sling to the FDA.

Dozens of women in other states, including Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia, have filed similar lawsuits against Mentor over the implanted device.

The trustees of SEIU United Healthcare West (UHW; Oakland California) reported that they filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Sal Rosselli and other former officers of the local union for their attempts to sabotage UHW's representation of its members.

The suit outlines a series of actions that the former officers of UHW engaged in following – and in many cases, preceding – their removal from office, including among other charges:

– The theft of UHW property.

– The "wholesale destruction" of UHW documents and records.

– The extended occupation of UHW buildings, which former UHW officers and employees used to further damage UHW property and records.

– The misappropriation of UHW proprietary membership e-mail lists and other records, which former UHW officers and employees have used to try to raid UHW members for their new organization.

– A "widespread and coordinated campaign of intimidation" against employees who chose to work for UHW after the trusteeship, which some former UHW staff employees or their agents have carried out by threatening UHW staff with physical violence, harassing anonymous phone calls, and vandalism of their automobiles.

Those former leaders named in the suit were removed on Jan. 27 after an independent hearing officer, former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, found that Rosselli and other officers had engaged in financial wrongdoing and failure to abide by the democratically-determined mandates of the Union as a whole.

In a follow-up hearing on Feb. 27, it was disclosed that while they were still in office, the former officers of UHW had failed to secure or even bargain contracts for thousands of workers.

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