Boston Scientific launches catheter as patent suit pends

Boston Scientific is launching its Guidezilla catheter as Vascular Solutions pursues a patent infringement lawsuit.--Courtesy of Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific ($BSX) is rolling out its Guidezilla extension catheter in the U.S. and Europe, all while smaller rival Vascular Solutions is suing over what it calls the device's "blatant" patent infringement.

Guidezilla is designed to make percutaneous coronary intervention procedures easier by inserting balloons and stents into tough anatomies and treating complex lesions, Boston Scientific said.

But the device, FDA cleared in March, is gallingly similar to Vascular Solutions' GuideLiner, the company said, an implant launched in 2009. Vascular Solutions filed a lawsuit in May, claiming Guidezilla infringes on three of its patents and asking a Minnesota court to stop Boston Scientific from marketing it and to force the company to hand over compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Upon filing the suit, Vascular Solutions CEO Howard Root said Guidezilla is "one of the most blatant plagiarisms of a patented medical device that I have ever encountered," and Root told FierceMedicalDevices on Friday that the company's position is unchanged now that Boston Scientific is marketing the implant. Root said Vascular Solutions expects a hearing on its motion for an injunction by next month.

Boston Scientific has said that it's aware of the lawsuit and believes the case is without merit. The company didn't acknowledge Vascular Solutions' claims in its announcement of the Guidezilla launch, but Boston Scientific posted a comparison between the two devices, highlighting their different diameters and component materials.

In the lawsuit, Vascular Solutions claims Boston Scientific copied its design, dimensions and even wording from its instruction manual to craft Guidezilla, resulting in "a small medical device company creating a completely new and innovative product only to be flagrantly violated by a knock-off brazenly marketed by the world's largest interventional cardiology company," Root said in an accompanying statement.

- read Boston Scientific's announcement

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