A Medical Device Daily

If you can't buy 'em, sue 'em.

That appears to be the strategy being pursued by Ventana Medical Systems (Tucson, Arizona) which reported that it has filed a patent suit against Vision BioSystems, a subsidiary of Vision Systems (Melbourne, Australia) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The filing follows through on the company's promise that it would launch litigation against Vision Systems if it was blocked in its attempt to purchase the company. Its proposal to purchase the company for about $346 million was trumped by Cytyc (Marlborough, Massachusetts), which late last week made the higher offer of about $374 million (Medical Device Daily, Sept. 15, 2006).

Subsequently, Ventana said that it would not increase its bid for Vision Systems (MDD, Sept. 19, 2006) and that it would proceed with a patent lawsuit alleging that Vision's Bond X and maX OCR instruments infringe a Ventana U.S. patent, No. 6,594,537, for schedule optimization, or specifically, scheduling algorithms which enable optimal sequencing of multiple tests.

Ventana's suit is seeking injunctive relief and damages.

Ventana had previously obtained a summary judgment of infringement of its dual bar code patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,352,861, against the earlier generation of Bond instruments. Ventana's suit alleging infringement of its '861 patent by the current Bond OCR instruments remains pending, subject, it said, to successful conclusion of an appeal recently heard by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Ventana manufactures instrument/reagent systems that automate slide preparation and staining in anatomical pathology and drug discovery laboratories worldwide.

In other legalities: Elron Electronic Industries (Tel Aviv, Israel) reported that Rafael Armaments Development Authority (Haifa, Israel) has filed a claim with the Tel Aviv District Court against Elron's 100% subsidiary, DEP Technology Holdings, andRafael Development Corporation (RDC; Haifa), 50.1% held by DEP and 49.9% held by Rafael.

The claim requests the court to issue a declaratory order that Rafael is entitled to terminate the rights granted to RDC to commercialize technologies of Rafael for future development of products for use in non-military markets, in accordance with an agreement between DEP, RDC and Rafael.

Elron said it “strongly believes, based on legal advice, that there is no basis for Rafael's claim” and it promises a vigorous defense.

Elron Electronic identifies potential technologies, creates partnerships, secures financing and recruits senior management teams. Elron's companies comprise a range of companies in the fields of medical devices, information and communications technology, semiconductors and advanced materials.

Rafael Armaments Development Authority is described as Israel's largest firm engaging in R&D for the “armaments and sophisticated combat platforms.”

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