Neurosurgeon claims company patented his invention

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 3, 2012, 4:15am

MARSHALL - Claiming his idea and design was made into a product and patented, an East Texas neurosurgeon has filed a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania medical device company for misappropriation of trade secrets and theft.

Dr. Sabatino Bianco filed suit against Globus Medical Inc. on March 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Bianco is a neurosurgeon who specializes in minimally-invasive brain and spine surgeries and owns a surgical practice in Arlington. He is also the former chairman of Neurosurgery at Trinity Mother Frances Healthcare System (TMFHS) in Tyler.

Globus is a privately held medical device company located in Audubon, Penn. While working at TMFHS, Dr. Bianco worked closely with Globus and "sought ideas and surgical know-how."

According to the suit, the parties entered into a confidentiality agreement and agreed that if Dr. Bianco would share his ideas and designs for medical devices, Globus would not use those ideas and designs for its own purposes or disclose them to the public without receiving Dr. Bianco's permission.

In 2007, Dr. Bianco claims he conceived an idea and product design for an expandable intervertebral fusion device for use in minimally invasive spinal surgeries. The idea and design was contained in an Invention Disclosure document, according to the lawsuit.

Dr. Bianco claims that a Globus representative told him that if Globus decided to use the idea, he would be compensated with a royalty arrangement.

In late 2009, a Globus representative allegedly told Dr. Bianco that it was not interested in developing or commercializing the idea or design and returned the Invention Disclosure to him.

However, Dr. Bianco now accuses the company of actively developing the Caliber-L, an expandable intervertebral fusion device, which incorporated the function and features included in his Invention Disclosure.

The product was released in November 2011 and U.S. Patent No. 8,062,375 issued Nov. 22, 2011, for Expandable Fusion Device and Method for Installation Thereof. Dr. Bianco is not listed as an inventor on the '375 patent.

The defendant is accused of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, unfair competition, fraud, and theft.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an injunction restraining the defendant from using his confidential information and trade secrets, for a declaration naming Dr. Bianco as investor of the '375 patent and an award of actual, special and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and court costs.

Bianco is represented by Michael Simons of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Austin, David M. Stein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Los Angeles, Calif., Ifti Ahmed of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Houston and Don Edwin Stokes in The Stokes Firm in Marshall.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00147

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