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ICU Medical Sues 2 Firms for Patent Infringement

April 13, 1993|TED JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

ICU Medical Inc. in Irvine said Monday that it has filed a patent infringement suit against Baxter Healthcare Corp. and Becton Dickinson & Co. over the use of certain parts of a needlelike product.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana last week, ICU Medical charged that two medical-products firms infringed on its patent for a piggyback connector, a component in ICU's Click Lock system. The entire device provides protection from needle pricks during intravenous therapy.

Baxter, based in Deerfield, Ill., markets a product under the Interlink trademark that also protects health workers from needle pricks.

The Baxter device is not used to feed fluids to a patient but for functions such as extracting medicine from a vial or connecting two tubes, company spokesman Geoffrey Fenton said.

"We have just received the complaint and are reviewing it now," he said.

Becton Dickinson, based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., markets Needle Lock, another protective product. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.

ICU is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the two companies from marketing the devices.

George Lopez, the company's chief executive, said in a statement that the two companies are taking market share "that otherwise might belong to ICU." He estimated that Baxter and Becton Dickinson collected $35 million in sales from the Interlink and Needle Lock products in 1992.

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