Siemens victory stands in ruling over PET scanner imaging crystal patents

Siemens ($SI), at long last, has defeated a French company in a major patent fight over the crystal it uses in medical imaging devices that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Bloomberg reports, the Supreme Court let the earlier verdict stand. That decision will cost Cie. De Saint-Gobain SA at least $44.9 million, according to the story, thanks to the previous appeals court ruling.

A Siemens division--Siemens Medical Solutions USA--had sued Saint-Gobain in 2007 over its sale of crystals used for 61 PET scanners made by archrival Philips Medical Systems. At issue: The composition of the crystals, which are a crucial part of the process, of course, helping to convert gamma rays into light in order to create a three-dimensional PET scan.

Saint-Gobain, which Bloomberg explains is Europe's largest supplier of building materials, could end up paying a lot more. In addition to the $44.9 million award, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington also said the initial trial should have awarded Siemens royalties on 18 more scanners. Phillips, the article notes, wasn't named in the lawsuit. The case stands as yet another example of how fierce companies can be in protecting any edge or uniqueness they have in the medical imaging/device marketplace.

It's a nice win for Siemens, even as the German conglomerate faces investigations over alleged Russian payments, and a U.S. Attorney's office inquiry regarding its diagnostics division. Siemens' healthcare arm focuses on diagnostics, imaging, audiology, devices and therapy systems.

- read the Bloomberg story