09 May 2012
The company has filed suit against a European competitor, and is also the subject of legal action from CAO Group.
Two recently filed patent disputes involving Biolase indicate that the California-based developer of dental laser systems has yet to find itself sailing in calm legal waters.
On April 13th 2012, the company filed suit in the Dusseldorf Patent Litigation Court against an unnamed European competitor, claiming infringement of its European Patent EP 1 560 470.
This patent, granted to Biolase in July 2008, relates to the generation of particular laser pulse durations and their delivery to atomized fluid particles located just above a target surface. The action of a laser on such particles above soft tissues is known to be a method of transmitting a cutting force to those tissues, as long as the pulse shape and frequency are suitably controlled.
Biolase indicated in a statement that the lawsuit followed failed attempts to create an amicable business arrangement between the two companies.
Biolase and CAO
Eleven days later, Biolase was itself the target of a suit filed by the CAO Group, an OEM supplier of dental devices and materials with further interests in veterinary, forensic and solid-state lighting products.
The Utah-based group has filed a suit in that state alleging that the Biolase ezlase system infringes US Patent 7,485,116, granted to CAO founder Densen Cao in February 2009.
That patent describes the design of a laser system with an attached and removable fiber storage unit, to manage the dispensing of the optical fiber used to deliver light to the area of interest. Biolase contends that the patent relates only to the storage of excess fiber, and not to the technical features or functions of the device.
"We look forward to our day in court," commented Biolase CEO Federico Pignatelli.
• Update: Biolase reported a sharp year-on-year increase in revenue in its first quarter for 2012, with sales of $12.3 million. Despite the increased sales, the company posted a net loss of $1.6 million, and now has only $2.8 million in cash and equivalents listed on its balance sheet.
The company's previous set of results, for the fourth quarter and full year 2011, showed net losses and missed guidance, but Biolase attributed these to the resolution of a complicated relationship with its own distributor, Henry Schein.