Baxter Healthcare Corp. isn't sending Valentines to five salespeople recently hired away by another maker of products used to mend broken hearts.
On Jan. 30, the health-care giant's cardiovascular surgery division in Irvine sued the five individuals and the company that recruited them--Heartport Inc., of Redwood City--for allegedly conspiring to steal trade secrets for products to repair or replace human heart valves.
The following day, an Orange County Superior Court commissioner temporarily enjoined the defendants from unlawfully soliciting customers that use Baxter's heart-valve surgery products. The order also blocked them from selling valve and related products made by Baxter's corporate archrival, St. Jude Medical Inc.
Minnesota-based St. Jude, the largest producer of mechanical heart repair parts, is Heartport's partner in a strategic alliance to develop and sell products.