Biolase wins US patent on core "laser plus water" technology for future dental laser development
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008 -- Dental lasers developer Biolase Technology, Inc. (Irvine, CA) has been granted a new U.S. patent for technology the company says is "central to current and future dental laser generations." At the same time, the company announced a countersuit against used-equipment company National Laser Technology, which took legal action against Biolase last month.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008 -- Biolase Technology, Inc. (Irvine, CA, NASDAQ: BLTI), known for its instruments for dental laser surgery, has been granted a new U.S. patent. The patent relates to the core laser-plus-water technology that the company says is "central to current and future dental laser generations." At the same time, Biolase announced a countersuit against used-equipment company National Laser Technology, which took legal action against Biolase last month with regards to the sale and marketing of laser dentistry equipment.
The patent coverage provides for use of electromagnetic energy (laser) with fluid (water) that has at least one output micropulse (e.g., Er, Cr:YSGG or Er:YAG) to allow the cutting of tissue. Additional claims included in the allowance cover specific lasers and tissues. Biolase CEO Jake St. Philip said this further strengthens the company's intellectual property position, which remains a top priority for Biolase.
"This patent covers important apparatus and methods currently integrated into our core products, and it also protects future technologies that we plan to use in next-generation laser devices. We have focused a significant amount of energy on improving our execution, controlling costs, building a solid operating foundation, and introducing new products and product enhancements. Our continued focus on research and development is another core component to our long-term goals of continued steady growth," St. Philip added.
The patent, No. 7,415,050, has broad coverage through both method and apparatus claims. The patent contains 19 claims, of which two are independent.
Biolase's patent announcement coincided with the news that the company is seeking a permanent injunction against National Laser Technology (NLT, Indianapolis, IN), which had initially filed suit against Biolase in August.
Biolase alleges violations of FDA regulations, federal trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition and false advertising in a suit involving a range of alleged business practices and market access for dental lasers.
"This suit is about patient safety, fairness and truthful product promotion," says St. Philip. The company explains that "the issue stems from a lawsuit in which NLT, as plaintiff, accused Biolase of coercing dentists into purchasing products from Biolase rather than from NLT. NLT also accused Biolase of monopolizing an alleged market for hard tissue dental lasers. Biolase has formally denied these allegations, and asserted its own counterclaims against NLT for unlawful conduct. "
Biolase's counterclaims allege that NLT has violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by modifying and reselling Biolase's products without complying with federal medical device regulations. By providing modifications that have not been cleared by the FDA, Biolase alleges that these changes could potentially place dentists and BIOLASE at risk of liability if patients are injured by a laser adulterated by NLT.
Biolase's counterclaims further allege that NLT intentionally infringed upon Biolase's federally registered trademarks by, among other things, unlawfully using the names "AMD Waterlase" and "AMDLase."
Biolase seeks a permanent injunction enjoining NLT from continuing to engage in any unlawful conduct. Biolase also seeks damages and costs. The lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
"We believe that National Laser Technology has deliberately misled the public by suggesting an affiliation with Biolase that simply does not exist," St. Philip said. "Despite what NLT may be suggesting, there is no connection or association between NLT and Biolase. To be clear, NLT is not now and has never been an authorized dealer of Biolase products."