A Medical Device Daily

Thermage (Hayward, California), a developer of non-invasive tissue tightening in the aesthetic industry, reported filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Alma Lasers (location) in Delaware Federal District Court.

The lawsuit claims that 10 Thermage U.S. patents, covering Thermage’s skin tightening and contouring technology, are infringed by Alma’s Accent XL product, and six of those patents are infringed by Alma’s Harmony product. In addition to damages and attorney fees, Thermage is asking the court to enjoin Alma from further infringement.

“Several of the patents Alma infringes are the same as those admitted in 2005 by Syneron, Inc. as valid in a paid license settlement of prior litigation between Thermage and Syneron,” said Stephen Fanning, president/CEO of Thermage. “We notified Alma as early as February 2006 that its Accent product in particular would infringe our patents if marketed in the United States. We were disappointed to hear in late April 2007 of Alma’s receipt of FDA clearance for Accent XL, and Alma’s intent to market this product in the U.S. in disregard of our patents. We are extremely confident our patents will be upheld by the court and that Alma will be ordered to cease its infringement.”

Thermage says it pioneered the use of radio frequency energy to tighten skin while cooling the epidermis, and has been a leader in the non-ablative skin-tightening field since its initial product introduction in 2002. To date, Thermage has 30 issued U.S. patents, 18 foreign issued patents, and numerous patent applications pending worldwide.

In other patent news:Guardian Technologies International (Herndon, Virginia), developer of threat detection technology, reported a patent filing for a vital component of its Signature Mapping software solution.

According to the company, Signature Mapping is an advanced analysis and visualization technology that can read images from any medical imaging device to detect disease states in the brain, lungs, heart, prostate and can even visualize breast cancer in difficult to distinguish dense breast tissue.

The company said the new patent wraps additional technological imaging advancements around Guardian’s existing 11 patents to enable an industry-first product that detects threatening tissue smaller than those a radiologist can see with the naked eye, enabling earlier treatment, dramatically reducing unnecessary biopsies and potentially increasing survival rates.

Bill Donovan, CEO of Guardian, said, “This patent is a major milestone for our company as we move one step closer to making our technology the de facto international standard for the analysis of images irrespective of the image source. We feel confident that we are well on our way to achieving that goal. Ultimately, this new patent serves as another validation of our ongoing commitment to building shareholder value.”

Guardian has undertaken R&D and clinical evaluation on challenges ranging from more precise and earlier detection of breast and prostate cancer. According to the company, Signature Mapping can automatically detect intracranial hemorrhagic associated with traumatic brain injuries using CTs, and can locate and quantify multiple sclerosis lesions in MRIs, as well as the extent of tuberculosis, pneumoconiosis, and even cancer in the lungs using commonly available and inexpensive chest X-rays.

Guardian said its technology will also be seamlessly installed to complement existing imaging devices in the Homeland Security Industry, such as airport baggage scanners to immediately identify items of interest including explosives, drugs and other contraband.