On December 30, 2011, David Sell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Synthes had fired the first salvo in an attempt to make a statement regarding non-competes and corporate raiding against three former Synthes employees, and the Almighty Stryker. The three former California employees are accused of allegedly breaching their confidentiality agreements and violating patents. As to what this confidentiality and these patent violations pertain to leaves much to the imagination. If the accused are AO/ASIF consultants what could they possibly know? The confusion surrounding this story is that Stryker hired them to sell nails, screws and plates to fix broken bones and then goes on to state that it is mostly related to spinal ailments.
Synthes charges that Michael Russell allegedly used Synthes medical devices to complete a surgery on behalf of Stryker. If the device in question was an implant, and for those of us in the industry, when the terminology device is used, it usually means an implant, why would Synthes care? The last time TSB noticed, no one was billing for instruments per se in a surgery, therefore, what's the big deal? Unfortunately, there was no comment from Synthes attorney Anthony Haller, incredible that the old Wyss meister still has his trusty relic Tony at his side.
So TSB has to ask our readers, is this a case whereby Synthes is attempting to enforce a non-compete and are utilizing the typical legal tactic of piling on accusations in the hope of intimidating these former employees from pursuing their right to work? Isn't this the United States, or will we be mandated to acquire a work visa to be employed in this industry? TSB has not met too many salespeople that had, or were privy to confidential information, let alone violating patents. The truth is that companies in this industry are so desperate to preserve market share and revenue that they enforce these ridiculous non-competes. If your products are good, why worry. If your surgeons are loyal customers, why worry? But then again, when your product portfolio no longer has the technological advancements that you were once known for, isn't it time for litigation and threats. And then there's Stryker. Back in the late 80's and early 90's Stryker become known for these shenanigans and old habits die hard. So you know what Neil Sedaka once sang in early 60's;
Don't take your implant business away from me
Don't you leave Orsinger in misery
If you go, then Synthes will be blue
'Cause breaking up is hard to do
Remember when you held me tight
You covered those IM nailing cases thru the night
Think of all that we've been thru
"Cause breaking up is hard to do