Due to women’s interest in anti-aging treatments and procedures, our current DTC efforts are focused on public relations where we utilize public relations outreach, such as desk-side briefings and pitching of new product press releases, to consumer health and beauty publications. This effort generates billions of gross impressions and has generated a high awareness of the Thermage, Fraxel and Isolaz brands among this key target demographic.
Mass Gen in bed with Solta and Palomar:
On November 10, 2008, we entered into agreements with Palomar Medical Technologies and Massachusetts General Hospital to create the Fractional Technology Open Patent Program (“FTOPP”). The FTOPP was designed to provide third parties the opportunity to license technology related to fractional light-based treatments in the professional field. Subject to certain conditions, we agreed to license patents that are included in the FTOPP on a non-discriminatory basis to such third parties. The FTOPP agreements require that the royalties from FTOPP licensees be allocated amongst the three parties.
The FTOPP comprises six patent families, including 11 issued and pending U.S. patents and applications, along with foreign counterparts. Included in the FTOPP are: U.S. patent numbers 6,632,219 and 6,059,820 and patent application number 11/250,139 (the “Tankovich-Baranov” patent family named for inventors Dr. Nikolai Tankovich and Dr. Eugene Baranov); U.S. patent application number 10/542,390 (the “1678” patent family licensed by us from MGH); and U.S. patent application number 10/367,582 (the “582” patent family). Included in the FTOPP from Palomar Medical Technologies are: U.S. patent number 6,997,923 and patent application number 11/235,697 (the “923” patent family); and U.S. patent number 6,723,090 and patent application number 11/408,272 (the “Fiber Laser” patent family). Also included in the FTOPP from Massachusetts General Hospital is U.S. patent number 7,331,953 and patent application number 11/931,232 (the “953” patent family).
In conjunction with the FTOPP, we and Palomar Medical Technologies entered into a cross-license agreement by which we have licensed certain patents to each other and have granted covenants not to sue with respect to each other’s existing products and technologies.
In addition, we have notified certain competitors of our belief that they may be infringing or may need a license under one or more of our issued patents. These notices may result in other patent litigation in the future. Patent litigation is very expensive and could divert management’s attention from our core business. Patent litigation could also result in our patents being held invalid or narrowly construed. We have in the past and may in the future offer certain of our intellectual property rights for license to our competitors. As of December 31, 2010, we have not entered into any such licenses with our competitors other than our licenses with Syneron and Palomar. We granted Edward Knowlton, one of our founders and inventor of our original patents, an exclusive license under the original Thermage patents and related patents for certain non-cosmetic applications. We also granted Relay Technologies, Inc. an exclusive license under the Reliant intellectual property for certain non-cosmetic applications, as part of the merger transaction between Reliant and us.
Solta Medical has several registered trademarks and service marks. “Thermage,” “Thermage CPT,” “Thermage NXT,” “Fraxel” and “Isolaz” are registered trademarks in the United States and several foreign countries. As of December 31, 2010, we have 408 pending and registered trademark filings worldwide, some of which apply to multiple countries, providing coverage in 60 countries. We intend to file for additional trademarks to strengthen our trademark rights, but we cannot be certain that our trademark applications will issue or that our trademarks will be enforceable.
As part of our acquisition of CLRS Technology Corp, we granted Allergia, Inc., a company owned by the original CLRS shareholders, a royalty free license to use the underlying CLARO technology in certain medical applications outside of the field of aesthetics. We also have a right of first refusal to purchase any non-aesthetic medical technologies developed by Allergia, Inc. that are based on the CLARO technology platform.
All employees and technical consultants are required to execute confidentiality agreements in connection with their employment and consulting relationships with us. We also require them to agree to disclose and assign to us all inventions conceived or made in connection with the employment or consulting relationship. We cannot provide any assurance that employees and consultants will abide by the confidentiality or invention assignment terms of their agreements. Despite measures taken to protect our intellectual property, unauthorized parties may copy aspects of our products or obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary.
Under Clinical Research (and exactly how is a PS 'independent' if his clinic is funded and administratively managed by "THE COMPANY"????)
We are co-located with an aesthetic clinic managed by an independent plastic surgeon medical director. The aesthetic clinic is funded and administratively managed by the Company. The staff of the clinic performs Thermage, Fraxel and Isolaz procedures, participates in clinical studies and assists in research into new therapies using our systems. These studies provide us with immediate feedback on treatment parameters and treatment protocols which enable us to develop and improve the safety and efficacy of our aesthetic treatment systems. The clinic also conducts on-site clinical studies in support of obtaining additional regulatory clearances, applications development and photographic documentation. The clinic also offers us a hands-on observation and training center for potential physician and nurse customers or for those interested in advanced training in treatment protocols and system parameters to achieve optimal outcomes.
And SOLTA joins Candela in 'modifying' their devices without notifying the FDA at the risk of being 'caught'. This really is a conspiracy, although Solta has couched their modification language a great deal more than Candela even bothered to do:
After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any product modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, requires a new 510(k) clearance or could require a PMA approval. The FDA requires each manufacturer to make this determination initially, but the FDA can review any decision and disagree with a manufacturer’s determination not to file a new 510(k) or PMA. If the FDA disagrees with our determination, the FDA may retroactively require us to seek 510(k) clearance or premarket approval. The FDA could also require us to cease marketing and distribution and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or premarket approval is obtained. Also, in these circumstances, we may be subject to significant regulatory fines or penalties. We have modified aspects of our Thermage, Fraxel, Isolaz and CLARO systems and accessories since receiving regulatory clearance, and we have made additional 510(k) filings when we deem it necessary. Decisions and rationale not to file a 510(k) for device modifications are documented.