Invivo sues Medrad over alleged patent infringement

September 13, 2000

Invivo, a developer of MRI patient monitoring technology, is taking another monitoring equipment supplier, Medrad, to court, alleging unauthorized use of intellectual property.The involved technology is described as key to the Omni-Trak Monitors sold by

Invivo, a developer of MRI patient monitoring technology, is taking another monitoring equipment supplier, Medrad, to court, alleging unauthorized use of intellectual property.

The involved technology is described as key to the Omni-Trak Monitors sold by Invivo Research for use with MRI scanners.

“Invivo Research plans to vigorously pursue this lawsuit against both Medrad Inc. and Magnetic Resonance Equipment in order to defend its property against unauthorized and illegal use of its patented technology,” said James B. Hawkins, president of Invivo Corp., the parent of Invivo Research.

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in New York by Invivo Research, is being pursued along with litigation filed earlier against Magnetic Resonance Equipment (MRE), another manufacturer of MRI patient monitoring equipment. The acquisition of MRE’s assets by Medrad, which is a subsidiary of Schering AG, Germany, appears to be the basis for the new litigation.

“What they have done is just added us to the lawsuit they had in process against MRE, so there are two defendants in that particular action,” said Michael Howard, senior vice president for Pittsburgh-based Medrad.

As part of its deal, announced on April 25, to acquire Magnetic Resonance Equipment of Bay Shore, NY, Medrad obtained three MRI products. One of these, the Multi-Gas Monitor, allegedly infringes on the Invivo patent, according to Howard.

“We vigorously deny that we infringe that patent and we certainly are going to vigorously defend our position,” he said.

The litigation against MRE was in process before Medrad acquired the company’s assets. Medrad executives examined the allegation and concluded there is no infringement. One day after the MRE deal closed, Medrad attorneys filed a declaratory judgment request in Western Pennsylvania, asking the court to declare that there is no infringement against the patent held by Invivo.

The patent in question addresses several aspects of the operation of Invivo’s Multi-Gas Monitor, Howard said. He provided no further details, and Invivo, despite a press release describing the litigation, failed to return phone calls from SCAN.

Product descriptions publicly available on the Web indicate that the Multi-Gas Monitor includes an ECG subsystem that depends on graphite leads and fiber-optic transmission cables that are compatible with MRI. Invivo describes the Omni-Trak model 3100 as using fiber-optic sensor technology, plus specially developed cabling and lead wires.

Invivo has been developing and selling MRI-based patient monitoring equipment for 10 years, according to the company. Financial documents filed by the firm show that Omni-Trak patient monitoring systems are among the major contributors to expanding sales revenue recorded by Invivo Research over the last two quarters. In early August, Invivo reported record activity in its MRI vital sign monitoring business.

The monitors, which track several of a patient’s vital signs, facilitate both cardiac and peripheral gated images for MRI scanning. Future growth for MRI monitoring and disposable equipment will be driven by widening use of cardiovascular MRI, according to the Invivo lawsuit.

“This patented technique (which is the subject of the litigation), is key to the operation and success of the Omni-Trak Monitors used in MRI,” Hawkins said.

Neither Hawkins nor other executives from Invivo could be reached for further comment.