Siemens wins $52.3M PET/CT patent suit, Philips files another

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Proprietary PET/CT technology is being battled over in the courts. Image Source: Texas Cancer Clinic  

A jury in the U.S. District Court of Delaware has found that Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics infringed Siemens Medical Solutions USA’s patent rights concerning scintillator crystals used in PET/CT machines. The jury has awarded Siemens $52.3 million for the unintentional infringement.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in April 2007, Siemens asserted that Saint-Gobain infringed on its U.S. Patent No. 4,958,080 by selling patented Lutetium-based scintillator crystals to Philips Healthcare for use in Philips’ Gemini TF time-of-flight PET/CT scanners, according to Bloomberg.

The worldwide market for PET scanners is worth about $2 billion, according to Siemens' lawyer Gregg LoCascio.

U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson, in a pre-trial ruling in January, said the case didn't "weigh predominantly in plaintiff's favor" after the Siemens unit, based in Malvern, Pa., sought an order to stop Saint-Gobain Ceramics from selling its diagnostic PET crystals, Bloomberg reported.

In separate PET/CT patent-related news, Philips Healthcare confirmed that it filed for patent infringement on Sept. 3 against Siemens Medical, accusing the company of infringing a patent for technology used in various imaging systems, including PET/CT.

The Philips’ patent that Siemens allegedly is infringing is U.S. Patent No. 5,525,905, which concerns a multimodality patient table and a computer that can be used on different imaging systems, such as CT or PET.

While Philips confirmed the filing, both companies told Health Imaging News that they cannot comment any further on pending legal matters.

Philips claims that Siemens’ Biograph PET/CT scanner uses technology it developed and patented in 1996. Philips is seeking cash compensation and a court order to prevent further use of its invention, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Bloomberg reported.