Bloomberg News

Saint-Gobain Rebuffed by Top U.S. Court on Siemens Patent

By Greg Stohr on May 29, 2012


LFS Scintillation Crystals


      • Zecotek’s patented (US patent No. 7,132,060) Lutetium Fine Silicate (LFS) series of scintillation crystals are distinguished by their combined high light yields and ultra-fast decay times. These performance advantages enable faster, higher-resolution operation of medical and industrial imaging devices – including PET, PET-CT, and gamma cameras. The line of LFS crystals developed at Zecotek, covers a wide range of emission wavelengths which can be tailored to match the spectral sensitivity of various PMT detectors and Zecotek’s flagship range of MAPD avalanche photodetector arrays.

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a jury verdict that will cost Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA’s ceramics and plastics business more than $44 million in a patent fight with a Siemens AG (SIE) unit.

Rejecting a Saint-Gobain appeal in a dispute over a crystal used in medical-imaging devices, the justices today refused to question a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the verdict. The appeals court also told a trial judge to consider increasing the $44.9 million award to account for additional products that infringed the patent.

The Supreme Court rebuff came at the urging of the Obama administration, which told the justices that the appeals court reached the right conclusion.

The dispute was over the composition of crystals that convert gamma rays into light to produce a three-dimensional image of the body to test for diseases. Siemens, based in Munich, makes crystals for its positron emission tomography, or PET, tests. Saint-Gobain, based in Courbevoie, France, produces the crystals for products made by Royal Philips Electronics NV. (PHG) (PHG)

Siemens Medical Solutions USA was awarded $44.9 million after it sued in 2007 over the sale of crystals for 61 scanners made by Philips Medical Systems. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said the trial court should have included a royalty award on 18 additional scanners. Philips wasn’t named in the lawsuit.

Saint-Gobain is Europe’s biggest supplier of building materials and Siemens is Europe’s largest engineering company.

The case is Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics v. Siemens Medical Solutions USA, 11-301.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at [email protected]