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Verasonics wins $5.6 million award, Alpinion blocked from selling ultrasound system

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
A judge has given Verasonics a final award of more than $5.6 million in a Washington State binding arbitration, finding that Alpinion Medical Systems both breached non-disclosure and lease agreements and misappropriated trade secrets.

Alpinion is also blocked from selling its E-Cube 12 research ultrasound for five years.

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The award to the Kirkland, Washington, based ultrasound devices and technology maker included compensatory damages, attorney's fees, arbitration fees, and other expenses – and is nearly double the original March partial final award, including compensatory damages of $2.9 million.

"We are grateful for the arbitrator's decision to issue the Final Award so clearly in our favor," Lauren Pflugrath, president and CEO of Verasonics, said in a statement, adding that, "we continue to expand and build positive collaborative partnerships, but must insist on protecting our intellectual property.”

Alpinion Medical Systems is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and is a subsidiary of ILJIN Holdings.

There are five-year global injunctions in place that not only block Alpinion from marketing or selling its E-CUBE 12R, but also any research ultrasound system derived from or based upon Verasonics' trade secrets or confidential information, and making use of that information.

The final award also denied or dismissed all other claims in the arbitration.

The trouble began in 2010, when Alpinion contacted Verasonics about licensing its ultrasound imaging technology, according to a report in Law 360.

At that time, both firms entered into nondisclosure agreements.

Over the next couple of years, the Korean firm showed interest in investing and got Verasonics to “divulge extensive confidential information, including bookkeeping figures, future development plans and pending patent applications and strategies,” according to the legal news site, and another nondisclosure agreement was entered into in 2012.

But the 2013 proposal to invest in Verasonics allegedly fell short and was rejected by the American firm. Then Alpinion launched its eCube-12R – which Verasonics claimed was based on confidential information.

Then, in 2014, the U.S. firm sued in Washington federal court.

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