A Medical Device Daily

Synergetics USA (O'Fallon, Missouri) reported reaching a settlement of all outstanding claims in two patent disputes with Iridex (Mountain View, California), resolving all claims between the parties.

The terms of the agreement require payments from Synergetics to IRIDEX totaling $6.5 million over a period of five years. The first payment of $2.5 million by Synergetics is to be paid on April 16, followed by annual payments of $800,000 on each date of April 16 until 2012.

Other terms include dismissal of all legal actions between the parties and cross-licensing of various patents. Synergetics obtained the right to manufacture and supply various laser disposables, which it said could result in about $3 million in revenue over the next five years.

Gregg Scheller, president/CEO of Synergetics, said, "The resolution of this dispute allows us to focus our energies on our business and move forward with an industry partner. This agreement allows Synergetics to continue marketing its proprietary and patent-pending, new two-connector system under a fully-paid, irrevocable Iridex license. The elimination of a significant portion of our legal fees associated with going to trial in the current adapter case and our pending directional laser probe case, in addition to gross profit we will derive from manufacturing probes for Iridex should more than offset our cross licensing fees in this settlement.

Barry Caldwell, president/CEO of Iridex, said, "The two companies had to work hard to get this settlement completed and together came up with some creative solutions. We now have the opportunity in the future to find ways in which we might work together to better serve the ophthalmic retinal community. Finally, the conclusion of this litigation will enable us to save a substantial amount of legal fees during the second quarter and positions us to improve our operating performance."

Synergetics resulted from the 2005 combination of Valley Forge Scientific and Synergetics, linking their capabilities in bipolar electrosurgical generators and design, and manufacture of microsurgical hand instruments.

Iridex is a provider of therapeutic based laser systems, disposable laser probes and delivery devices to treat eye diseases in ophthalmology and skin diseases in dermatology markets.

In other patent action: Medela Holding (Zug, Switzerland) reported that Judge Royal Ferguson of the U.S. Federal District Court for the West District of Texas upheld the Aug. 3, 2006, jury verdict that the combination of Medela's Vario 18 (resold as Versatile 1) constant-intermittent aspirator and Chariker-Jeter type dressing materials did not infringe on patents held by Kinetic Concepts (KCI; San Diego) for a similar device.

Urs Tanner, a member of Medela's board, said that the judgment by the court "clearly supports Medela's position that we did not infringe upon KCI. This decision allows Medela to quickly enter the negative pressure wound therapy [NPT] marketplace, where we are committed to improving the health and well-being of patients and providing competitive, high quality, research-based products for healthcare providers."

Medela's Vario 18 is an electrical and battery-powered suction pump used for wound healing by applying negative pressure to the wound site and continually draining away wound effluent and infectious materials. Medela said it is in the process of launching its own NWPT system in the second quarter for 2007.