Delaware complaint seeks to invalidate Fonar patents If there are any real winners in Fonar's ongoing campaign to assertits claims to intellectual authorship of MRI, patent attorneyswill have to be considered at the top of the list. This
If there are any real winners in Fonar's ongoing campaign to assertits claims to intellectual authorship of MRI, patent attorneyswill have to be considered at the top of the list. This monthPhilips joined the legal fray as a plaintiff by filing a complaintagainst Fonar in a Delaware federal court. The action is the firststep toward joining a case Siemens filed against Fonar in Mayin the same venue.
Fonar, of Melville, NY, took the MRI industry by surprise whenit won a $110 million jury verdict against GE Medical Systems(SCAN 6/7/95). A U.S. District Court jury ruled that GE had infringedon basic MRI patents held by Fonar.
Fonar has made no secret of the fact that it intends to pressits patent claims against other vendors, and the company filedsuit against Siemens and Philips in June in the same New Yorkcourt where it won its victory over GE (SCAN 7/6/95). Just priorto that suit, however, Siemens sued Fonar in U.S. District Courtin Wilmington, DE, asking that Fonar's patents be declared invalidor that the court declare that Siemens does not infringe on thepatents.
This month, Philips Electronics North America and Philips ElectronicsNV, the U.S. and Dutch parents of Philips Medical Systems NorthAmerica, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in the Delawarecourt in an action it said was related to the Siemens complaint,according to Fonar attorney Ronald Schutz. Philips also joinedSiemens in opposition to a Fonar motion to dismiss the Siemenscomplaint, said Schutz, of Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi ofMinneapolis.
"They have done what they need to do procedurally to jointhe Siemens case in Delaware," Schutz said. "They labeledit a related case to the Siemens case. Doing that is enough toget them lumped together."
The strategy Siemens and Philips seem to be following is tohave the patent case moved from the New York court to Delaware,according to Schutz. The vendors are working together to havethe New York suit dismissed, Schutz said.
"The New York court is familiar with the patents and itis more convenient to Fonar," Schutz said. "My speculationis that they wanted to be anywhere but New York."
Philips representatives declined to comment on the Fonar litigation.
Legal wrangling between GE and Fonar continues in the aftermathof the jury verdict. On July 7, GE filed post-trial motions withU.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler, who presided over thecase, asking to have the verdict set aside. If those motions fail,GE will likely take its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals.