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Ophthalmic laser makes in court stoush

02/02/2018
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US medical laser firm Iridex has launched legal action against France-based Quantel over the use of its MicroPulse laser technology, which is used for treating eye disease.

Iridex has alleged that Quantel’s products infringe on one of its US patents, and that its French and US division had breached an earlier agreement between the two companies. Quantel has also been accused of infringing on the registered MicroPulse trademark owned by Iridex.

According to optics.org, the dispute stems from a previous limited license that Quantel had held for the patent and trademark in question since 2012. The agreement was terminated early last year for a material breach, but Iridex alleges that the France-based business continued to use the relevant intellectual property without authorisation.

Iridex is suing Quantel over its use of the trademarked "MicroPulse" approach
Iridex is suing Quantel over its use of the trademarked "MicroPulse" approach

Following the announcement of the lawsuit, Iridex CEO Mr William Moore said: “Our intellectual property and superior technology differentiate our products from conventional laser treatments. We place significant value on our successes treating these diseases with our proprietary technology, and will protect our related intellectual property rights.”

According to the company, the MicroPulse is superior to other lasers for treating sight threatening diseases such as glaucoma because its modulated continuous-wave source allows tissue to cool between short laser pulses. This is said to reduce treatment risks and deliver a “tissue-sparing” treatment option.

The CEO of Quantel, Mr Marc Le Flohic responded hours after the lawsuit was lodged and said the company intended to “vigorously defend itself” against the claims.

“As an owner of intellectual property rights, Quantel respects the intellectual property rights of others and takes allegations of infringement seriously,” he said.

“We do not, however, anticipate any disruption to our ongoing commercial progress as a result of Iridex’s action, which we believe is without merit.”

Submitted by Iridex as part of its claim was promotional material related to Quantel’s Easyret laser, which featured a reference to a ‘MicroPulse’ mode. A trademark credited to Iridex was also featured in the material.

Quantel received FDA approval to market Easyret in July 2017.

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