BOCA RATON, FL: The latest salvo between two rival medical device companies has placed one firm's PR agency in the firing line by accusing it of patent infringement.
TransMedia Group represents RyMed Technologies in its promotion of the company's IV connectors. It recently received letters from ICU Medical alleging that in representing RyMed it is infringing some of ICU's patents.
ICU asked that the PR agency cease and desist in its promotion of the devices in question and secured a subpoena to gather documents between RyMed and TransMedia.
Last December, ICU won a judgment against RyMed in federal court, in which the court ruled RyMed had infringed on ICU's patents, but it also ruled that the infringement of one ICU patent wasn't “willful” on the part of RyMed.
The incident raises the issue of whether a PR firm can be held liable for its client's actions. “If one PR firm can be silenced, it sets a very dangerous precedent for the entire profession,” said Thomas Madden, CEO of TransMedia Group.
TransMedia has faced similar allegations before. In 2008, the radio network Westwood One alleged that the PR firm and its former client Pompano Helicopters used defamatory press releases to injure the network's stock prices and reputation. However, TransMedia and Westwood later reached an undisclosed settlement.