Bloomberg News

Philips Sues Zoll Over Infringement Claims on Defibrillators

January 08, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips Electronics NV, which gets more than a third of its revenue from medical systems, filed a lawsuit claiming that Zoll Medical Corp. is infringing patents related to devices used to restart hearts.

Philips contends that external defibrillators made by Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Zoll are infringing six patents. It is seeking cash compensation and an order that would block further use of its inventions, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Seattle.

Philips, Zoll and Medtronic Inc. are the top makers of the devices that police, firefighters and flight attendants use to help people experiencing cardiac arrest. An external defibrillator used in the first minutes after cardiac arrest can triple the chances of survival, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania.

The patents relate to ways of analyzing a patient’s heart function, defibrillators with automatic and manual modes, and methods to send medical information to and from the machines as the patient is transferred to more advanced medical care.

“Zoll does not have a license or permission to use” the inventions, Philips said in the complaint. The Amsterdam company said it has lost profits and potential sales “that Philips would have made but for Zoll’s infringing acts.”

The suit targets the E Series, M Series and R Series defibrillators made by Zoll, which reported $523.7 million in sales last year, all from different types of resuscitation devices. Officials with Zoll couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.

Philips announced last month that it had imposed controls on discretionary spending and scaled back hiring after it forecast weakening demand for health-care equipment in Europe.

The case is Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV v. Zoll Medical Corp., 12cv18, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Seattle).

--With assistance from Nicole Ostrow in New York and Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam. Editors: Michael Shepard, Steve Walsh

PHG US <Equity> CN ZOLL US <Equity> CN

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net


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