Patrick Sweeney, MD, a retired orthopedic surgeon, is suing DePuy Synthes for alleged patent infringement involving a surgical screw he developed.
Dr. Sweeney, who practiced in Mokena, Ill., invented a surgical screw to repair fractured bones in 2002, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 17 in the United States District Court of Delaware. The screw has a hollow cavity and a cannulated, fenestrated insert to help deliver medicine and fillers to repair bone.
Dr. Sweeney received nine U.S. patents for his screw, and it was patented throughout Europe, the suit said. He assigned patents to Spinal Generations and his own company, Flow-FX, to make and sell the screw and insert.
DePuy Synthes, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, met with Dr. Sweeney to discuss a potential partnership, but that didn't solidify. The devicemaker didn't indicate plans to create a competing product at the time.
However, two years after the meeting, DePuy Synthes introduced the TFNA product. The lawsuit described it as "virtually indistinguishable from the Flow Nail product that Dr. Sweeney had presented."
Dr. Sweeney is asking for a jury trial and compensation for damages.
DePuy Synthes didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Becker's.