Fujifilm levels mammography patent infringement, anti-trust claims against Hologic

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Fujifilm Holdings (TSE:4901) last week accused mammography rival Hologic (NSDQ:HOLX) of patent infringement and unfair trade practices, alleging that Hologic aimed to unlawfully maintain its 80% share in the 3D mammography market.

The Japanese tech firm claims in the suit that its Aspire Cristalle system, which sells for roughly half the average $452,000 price of Hologic’s competing Selenia Dimensions system, “has superior image capture technology, delivers lower doses of radiation, and features a patented ‘comfort paddle’ that improves image quality, accuracy of results, and patient comfort.”

“As a result of Fujifilm’s threat to Hologic’s monopoly power, Hologic has initiated an anticompetitive scheme to bar Fujifilm from the U.S. market by bringing sham litigation claims against Fujifilm regarding its Aspire Cristalle system, disseminating false and misleading advertising about Hologic’s products to the public, and communicating false and misleading statements about Fujifilm’s Aspire Cristalle system to potential Fujifilm customers,” according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware.

The lawsuit alleges that Marlborough, Mass.-based Hologic’s scheme to dominate the market predates Fujifillm’s 2013 entry into the U.S. 3D mammography market.

“Even before Fujifilm’s entry into the U.S. market for 3D mammography, and as part of its anticompetitive scheme, Hologic incorporated into its 3Dimensions and Selenia Dimensions products inventions and technologies developed by Fujifilm, including inventions claimed in [four Fujifilm patents],” according to the complaint. “Additionally, Hologic has tortiously interfered with Fujifilm contracts and prospective business relations. For example, Hologic’s unlawful interference has caused a key Fujifilm customer to cancel a contract for Fujifilm 3D-capable mammography systems as well as additional lost sales and revenue.”

Fujifilm, which headquarters its U.S. medical business in Stamford, Conn., also claims that a Hologic lawsuit filed last year, claiming infringement of a quintet of patents covering Selenia Dimensions, is part of its scheme to dominate the market.

“Hologic’s anticompetitive actions are not the first time it has attempted to extend its market power and keep its rivals from competing in breast-cancer screening technology,” the lawsuit alleges, citing a 2006 suit brought against Hologic by the U.S. Federal Trade commission “when Hologic sought to monopolize the market for a breast biopsy probe by acquiring virtually all of its only competitor’s patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property.”

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