DENVER (CN) – Medtronic sabotaged a competitor by engineering a phony product recall so Medtronic could monopolize the market in bone mills used in spinal fusion surgery, Lenox MacLaren Surgical Corp. claims in a federal antitrust complaint. Lenox claims Medtronic agreed to be exclusive distributor for the Lenox McLaren Bone Mill, so it could irreparably damage Lenox’s ability to sell its “groundbreaking and relatively inexpensive bone mill,” and bring its own, more expensive version to market.
As a result, Lenox says, Medtronic controls 70 percent of the market for surgical bone mills, and is poised to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.
Lenox claims that Medtronic tied up the exclusive right to sell Lenox MacLaren bone mills, then loaned, rather than sold, the mills to surgeons and hospitals, “generating immense interest” in the mills “while preventing actual market penetration.”
All the while, “Medtronic was simultaneously developing its own competing and costlier bone mill,” the complaint states.
Lenox says that when the distribution agreement ended, Medtronic initiated “a disingenuous, improper recall and an FDA investigation to tarnish the reputation of the Lenox MacLaren Bone Mill. Medtronic consummated its monopoly by filling the vacuum in the market resulting from the improper Lenox MacLaren Bone Mill recall with actual sales – as opposed to loans – of its own product.”
Lenox MacLaren seeks actual damages, treble damages, punitive damages and court costs for monopolization, attempted monopolization, violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, intentional interference with prospective business relations and fraud.
Its lead counsel is G. Stephen Long with Polsinelli Shugart of Denver.