A Medical Device Daily

Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana) reported winning a preliminary injunction against Endologix (Irvine, California) and four former sales representatives, barring them from violating Cook's non-compete agreement.

The ruling, handed down March 25 in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, also enjoins Endologix, which manufactures a device to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) that is a direct competitor to Cook's Zenith line of AAA endografts from hiring Cook sales representatives and placing them in their former territories and accounts.

"This ruling further supports Cook's position that it is improper for competitors to ignore non-compete agreements that are fair and reasonable," said Pete Yonkman, executive VP for sales and marketing of Cook. "In addition, we believe the practice of hiring a direct competitor's sales representatives contributes to unnecessary escalations in healthcare costs. We spend a great amount of time and resources training our sales representatives to be valued partners in the delivery of quality healthcare to patients."

Cook develops devices used to perform minimally invasive medical procedures.

In other legalities: The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) reported that it will consider a request by CryoCor (San Diego) to bar imports of catheters and other medical equipment made by CryoCath (Montreal).

CryoCor, asked the ITC last month to investigate CryoCath Technologies and decide whether the company is infringing patents that CryoCor licensed from AMS Research (Minnetonka, Minnesota). AMS joined CryoCor in the request.

The patents at issue are for catheters, consoles and other equipment used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, the ITC said last Thursday.

The ITC, an independent federal agency, investigates unfair trade practices and has the authority to bar imports that infringe U.S. patents and trademarks.

The case will be referred to an administrative law judge, the ITC said, who will investigate the complaint. The agency said it will set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days.

CryoCor and CryoCath have also filed lawsuits accusing each other of patent infringement in U.S. and Canadian courts.

In a lawsuit filed in January, CryoCor said patents for its Cryoablation system, which is used to treat irregular heartbeats, were infringed by CryoCath's products. Cryotherapy generally involves the use of freezing temperature to treat diseased tissue (Medical Device Daily, Jan. 18, 2007).

CryoCor said in that suit that it is the exclusive licensee for the patents and is seeking monetary damages and sales injunctions against CryoCath.

CryoCath filed its own patent infringement suit against CryoCor in October (MDD, Oct. 18 2007). The company said last month that CryoCor and AMS Research illegally extended "at least one patent beyond its scope."