U.S. Federal Court Issues Permanent Injunction against Ventana Medical for CytoLogix Patent Infringement.
WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 20, 2004
Ventana Must Halt Benchmark and Discovery Sales; Damages Could Reach $30 Million - Ventana Benchmark XT System Allegedly Infringes Another CytoLogix Patent
In another legal victory for CytoLogix Corp., the company announced today that Judge Rya W. Zobel of the U.S. Federal Court in Boston issued a permanent injunction against Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: VMSI) on April 26. The order permanently enjoins Ventana from making, using, selling or offering to sell, within the U.S. or importing into the U.S., its Benchmark(R) and Discovery(R) staining devices. The injunction covers Ventana's Benchmark and Discovery systems and any variation of those products that infringe CytoLogix Patent Nos. 6,180,061 ('061) or 6,183,693 ('693).
The order follows a Boston Federal District Court jury's decision in December 2003. Additionally, since April 15, Ventana has been enjoined from converting any units held by customers for evaluation into sales or rentals. CytoLogix seeks damages for all Benchmark and Discovery instruments currently with customers, whether through direct sale, "RAP", "PEP", or rental and for all Benchmark and Discovery instruments that Ventana has used internally. Current financial information indicates that damages owed to CytoLogix for infringement of the '061 and '693 Patents could be between $25 million to $30 million - significantly surpassing Ventana's $7 million estimate based on outdated information. That figure does not include foreign sales of instruments manufactured in the U.S., raising the possibility that the figure might be higher.
The injunction comes on the heels of CytoLogix's April 15 filing of a new patent infringement suit against Ventana. This suit alleges that Ventana's new Benchmark XT(R) slide-staining system - positioned as the successor to its original Benchmark system - infringes another CytoLogix U.S. Patent, No. 6,541,261 ('261). Issued in April 2003, the CytoLogix '261 patent covers a method of automatically staining slides with an instrument that can independently heat microscope slides. Ventana launched Benchmark XT in July 2003, stating that the instrument did not infringe CytoLogix patents '061 or '693 - yet they made no mention CytoLogix' 261 patent.
"The permanent injunction and potential damages should convince Ventana that U.S. Courts will not tolerate companies that infringe others' patents," said Steven A. Bogen, M.D., PhD., President of CytoLogix. "Histology departments have a choice of where they purchase their slide staining equipment, and we believe that customers will shift their buying patterns to reinforce that this kind of business practice is unacceptable and doesn't win contracts."
The recent Boston case, where Ventana was found to infringe CytoLogix's '061 and '693 patents, is the fifth patent lawsuit against Ventana with an outcome in CytoLogix's favor. CytoLogix's claims for damages in relation to patents '061 and '693, claims of anti-competitive practices and violations of anti-trust law, as well as its claims under the '261 patent case recently filed in Delaware, are pending.
Privately held CytoLogix is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company is a pioneer in laboratory instrumentation for non-routine complex stains. CytoLogix developed the Artisan(R), a leading-edge tissue staining instrument used primarily for cancer diagnosis. Artisan is the first instrument to provide true walk away automation for both immunohistochemical and complex special stains. All procedural requirements for staining are controlled by the instrument, making the complexity of unique test protocols transparent to the operator and enabling a dramatic improvement in laboratory productivity and throughput. In September 2002, CytoLogix sold its Artisan product line to DakoCytomation, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
DakoCytomation is highly specialized within diagnostic systems solutions, founded on immunology and protein chemistry. DakoCytomation has significant R&D and manufacturing activities in the U.S. and in England. It is a leading in vitro diagnostic company specializing in the identification of cancer markers on samples obtained from tissue and body fluids. DakoCytomation's cutting-edge technology in immunochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and protein chemistry enables physicians around the world to link diagnostic tests with specific therapies, thus optimizing patient treatment. The privately held company, which has operations in 22 sites and distributors in 50 countries, employs more than 1,400 people. For more information visit www.dakocytomation.com.
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|Date:||May 20, 2004|
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