Synergetics USA has announced its response to the recent Markman ruling delivered in the pending patent infringement lawsuit brought by Iridex Corporation against Synergetics relating to Iridex's U.S. Patent No. 5,085,492.
A Markman hearing is a part of every patent lawsuit.
During the Markman hearing, the court interprets, as a matter of law, the definition and scope of the written claims within the patent. Contrary to Synergetics' arguments, the judge interpreted 13 claim limitations from the 24 claims in the patent more broadly than the Company believes is appropriate. While the Markman ruling is more favorable to Iridex, such a ruling is only the first step in the overall infringement analysis. The lawsuit is not set for trial until the Spring of 2007.
According to Gregg D. Scheller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Synergetics, "While we believe the claims of Iridex's patent should have been construed more narrowly, the outcome of the Markman hearing is just one element of a multifaceted lawsuit." Counterclaims against Iridex relating to alleged false statements made by it in the marketplace about the Company's products, false advertising, and defamation remain in the case and have not yet been addressed by the court."
Synergetics continues to believe that Iridex filed this lawsuit based on the inaccurate belief that Synergetics' laser probe sales onto Iridex lasers currently exceed $12 million per year. In fact, the total sales over the entire six year period barely exceed this number. Further, even if Iridex were successful in this lawsuit, Synergetics expects that any damages to which Iridex would be reasonably entitled would be a small fraction of these total sales. "I find it surprising that Iridex has the desire to sustain this lawsuit, at this level, based on the sales numbers that they have been provided," said Scheller.