The Venoscope:

Altruistic, Advanced Technology,

...and turned into a
cheap marketing gimmick!


Attention Lawyers!

Are you the character portrayed by Paul Newman in The Verdict?   Are you that rare attorney, willing to go the extra mile? If so, then do I have a case for you!

But the amount of money now involved is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and, in case you didn't know it, people will kill for a lot less than that!   So the timid need not apply.


Brief summary of case

  • I am the inventor of the Venoscope, an ultra-sophisticated catheter-based new technology for treatment of large varicose veins.

  • The Venoscope patent application was in 1989, and the patent date was 1991, many years before anyone else either thought of, or marketed anything like it.

  • The device was supposed to include fiberoptic bundles for both viewing and laser ablation, a small array of piezoelectric crystals (i.e., doppler crystals) in the tip, for ultrasound viewing and flow studies, and at least one channel for either injection of liquids, or for passage of a radiofrequency (RF) wire into the vein.

  • To the best of my knowledge, the laser and RF ablation proposals in my patent were the first ever made in venous medicine. The diode lasers now used for laser ablation were not even available in 1989; the closest thing available at that time having been the IBM excimer laser. Determining whether firing a laser inside a living blood vessel was even feasible required very substantial research on my part - it was hardly "obvious".

  • No company would make my device. I approached dozens, and kept careful records. The usual response was something like "Our consultants tell us that existing remedies are adequate". Really? Then why is my invention now being used in every hospital on earth, and I get no royalties?

  • About a decade after my patent was granted, a so-called "competitor" of mine -- a man who had been following my career closely since 1979, imitating everything I did -- successfully approached the French company Diomed, and persuaded them to make a cheap, watered-down knockoff of my Venoscope. In their patent application, I was not even acknowledged as prior art. What made them think they could get away with that? I had done presentations on the Venoscope at three World Congresses of the International Union of Phlebology, and published print discussions of it in a number of highly-respected books and journals.

  • The answer is:   They purportedly turned the Venoscope into a "new invention" by simply removing the doppler crystals and the injection channel. They also proposed using the fiberoptics for laser ablation only, eliminating the viewing function. In other words, they turned my intelligent catheter into a blind, deaf and dumb imitation. What a joke, no?

  • No! The joke is on me, and on every patient with venous disease. They took a sophisticated device which would have been a major advance in vascular medicine, and turned it into a contemptible marketing gimmick (albeit an incredibly successful marketing gimmick) which was a substantial medical step backwards. It's yet another example of American cultural devolution.

  • Shortly thereafter, the New York company Angiodynamics marketed the same cheap knock-off.   Diomed sued them, alleging, with full chutzpah, that Diomed's patent had been infringed! In their defense, Angiodynamics submitted a brief to the federal court stating, incredibly, that neither patent - i.e., neither theirs nor Diomed's - was valid, because neither one listed my Venoscope as prior art!

  • Do you think I have an air-tight case for patent infringement? If so, think again:  No lawyer, to date, will take my case! Why not? Because the several clauses in my patent which describe - for the first time in medical history - the use of laser and RF therapy for treatment of large varicose veins, were dependent clauses, referring to earlier clauses in the same patent which described the instrument as having doppler crystals, a viewing system and an injection channel. So they just took those things out! This resulted in a blind, deaf and dumb catheter, which they now call a "new invention"!

  • The fact that my proposals for laser and RF ablation were completely novel, either with or without the presence of doppler crystals, is not being taken into consideration. The doppler crystals are there for diagnostic purposes only, and play no direct role in the ablation of varicose veins by either laser or RF energy. Yet Diomed, in its court papers, specifically reference the removal of the doppler crystals as being the basis of their claim that they have a "new invention". How so? How can you turn a pre-existing invention into a new one by removing something? And why is such a thing being allowed in a nation whose very Constitution commands the Congress to protect the rights of inventors?

  • The ultimate insult is that health insurers not only pay for the new technology, but they pay more than they do for traditional surgery, even though surgery works better. What sort of corruption is this? It's just another example of cultural/scientific devolution; that's all it is.

  • There's clearly a lot more at stake here than my personal finances. The lawyer who straightens out this mess will make a ton of money, and provide an immensely valuable service to healthcare, by "deep-sixing" a depraved, money-oriented pseudo-technology, and replacing it with a truly advanced technology which will provide superior healthcare to patients with vascular disease.








Ken Biegeleisen, M.D., Ph.D.
19 East 80th Street, Ste. 1E
New York, N.Y. 10075