A Medical Device Daily

Synergetics USA (O’Fallon, Missouri) reported reaching a final settlement with Charles Hurst and Michael McGowan, two former Synergetics employees, and the company they formed, Innovatech (Camden, New Jersey).

In 2004 Synergetics sued Hurst and McGowan, charging misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and international interference with business relationships. In December 2005, a judgment of about $2.4 million was entered on all counts in favor of Synergetics and an injunction issued against Hurst and McGowan’s use or disclosure of the company’s trade secrets.

This past February, the court dismissed the defendants’ motion to vacate the judgment, allowing Synergetics to retain its judgment against Hurst and McGowan. The court also awarded Hurst and McGowan $1.17 million in sanctions, which the company used to offset against the original $2.35 million judgment in the company’s favor against Hurst and McGowan (Medical Device Daily, Aug. 23, 2007).

Hurst and McGowan appealed the denial of their motion to vacate and Synergetics cross-appealed the sanction.

This week, the parties have agreed to dismiss the pending appeal and a separate lawsuit filed in 2006 in which the company had alleged patent infringement against three defendants, including Innovatech.

Synergetics said that the underlying judgment as modified in August remains in full force. However, the parties will each file a notice of satisfaction with respect to all monetary obligations. Additionally, they release each other from all claims and obligations arising from circumstances occurring prior to the agreement, Synergetics said.

Gregg Scheller, president/CEO of Synergetics, said that the settlement “makes good business sense as we have been unable to meaningfully collect on the judgment. As we will continue to have the benefits of the injunction against Hurst and McGowan, we feel we have defended our trade secrets from those who would misappropriate them.”

Synergetics develops devices for the vitreoretinal, neurosurgery and ear, nose and throat surgery markets.

In other legalities: CryoCor (San Diego), a developer of devices for treating cardiac arrhythmias, reported filing two patent infringement suits against CryoCath Technologies (Montréal), one in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and one in Canada. The lawsuits allege that CryoCath’s products infringe several patents related to CryoCor’s Cardiac Cryoablation system.

CryoCor is seeking monetary damages and injunctions in the U.S. and Canada to prohibit further infringement.

“We believe that our exclusive license to these patents gives us broad coverage over key technologies that are critical in the field of cryoablation for cardiovascular applications,” said Ed Brennan, PhD, president/CEO of CryoCor.

CryoCor has previously said it is pursuing patent interference proceedings initiated in 2004 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. CryoCor said it believes that it, through the licensor, was the first to invent certain pre-cooling technologies and is seeking that an interference be declared between CryoCath patents and CryoCor intellectual property to determine right of invention and ownership.

CryoCor expects a patent interference proceeding to be declared in the first half of this year.

CryoCor makes a disposable catheter system based on its cryoablation technology for the minimally invasive treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. The Cryoablation system is designed to treat cardiac arrhythmias through the use of cryoenergy, or extreme cold, to destroy targeted cardiac tissue.

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