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Surgical Robotics: Truce and Consequences

Originally Published MX May/June 2003


In what many industry analysts see as a surprise, 'Why now?' move, perennial market rivals Intuitive Surgical (Sunnyvale, CA) and Computer Motion (Goleta, CA) have not only agreed to set aside their long-standing legal challenges—but also to merge into a single company.

The early March announcement came less than four weeks after the District Court for the Central District of California ruled that Intuitive Surgical had infringed on a patent held by Computer Motion. In another patent infringement case between the two companies, a Delaware court had several months earlier ruled in favor of Intuitive Surgical. Since the beginning of 2000, the two companies have filed literally dozens of patent lawsuits against one another, creating a legal dispute that BusinessWeek once termed the "battle of the robosurgeons."

Computer Motion president and COO Joe DeVivo.
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