Editor's note: A settlement agreement between AccuVein and Luminetx was reached in August 2009 that resolved the legal dispute. Both parties stated that the resolution was in the best interest of their companies.
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 5, 2008 — Hailed by Time magazine as one of "The Most Amazing Inventions of 2004," the VeinViewer from Luminetx Corp. of Memphis, Tenn., uses infrared light to reveal veins underneath the skin that are hard for nurses and other health practitioners to find when trying to start an IV, inject medications or draw blood.
The Luminetx VeinViewer (top) and the AccuVein (bottom) in action.
AccuVein LLC of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., plans to market its own infrared vein finder very soon. “We started showing it about four months ago, and we will start shipping it at the beginning of ,” said chief marketing officer Vinny Luciano.
A week ago, Luminetx filed a lawsuit against AccuVein in US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. According to the Memphis Daily News, the suit alleges that two former Luminetx executives, Greg Candelmo and Roxane Bischofberger, disclosed trade secrets to AccuVein.
Biomedical engineer Herb Zeman invented the VeinViewer. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Luminetx alleges that AccuVein is infringing on Zeman’s 1999 patent. Luciano said that AccuVein was founded by a patent attorney named Ron Goldman.
According to an online article from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Zeman was inspired to invent the device because his lover, Charles, had macular degeneration. Zeman said that he was looking for a way to make images contrast starkly against a background. He tested the device on his arm and noticed that his veins stood out, so he decided to market it as a vein viewer rather than as a device to improve eyesight.
Zeman left a professorship at the University of Tennessee to work at Luminetx. However, he said that he was forced out of the very corporation that he founded. “I had a lot of experience in biomedical engineering and a PhD in physics,” he said, “[but] I didn’t know anything about business.”
David L. Shenkenberg