Surgical Instrument Service Alleges Antitrust Violations Against Robot Manufacturer

On Monday, plaintiff Surgical Instrument Service Company, Inc (SIS). filed a complaint in the Northern District of California against the defendant Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Intuitive), for antitrust violations related to the purchasing agreements of surgical robots. The defendant allegedly threatened to withhold technical support, replacement instruments, and servicing for the EndoWrist robotic surgery systems purchased by hospitals, health care  systems, and group purchasing organizations (GPO).

According to the filing, complex surgeries are executed remotely by a surgeon using a multi-arm “da Vinci” surgical robot. EndoWrists are a component for controlling and moving the surgical robot.

Per the complaint, the defendant Intuitive has a monopoly over  “99% market share for minimally invasive soft tissue surgery robots, 100% market share for the servicing and support of those robots, and the 100% market share of instruments used with Intuitive da Vinci robots”.

SIS services EndoWrists produced by the defendant.  In 2019 and 2020, SIS entered  into contracts and was in discussions for other contracts to provide EndoWrist repair services to numerous hospitals, health care systems, and GPOs. SIS claimed they service the EndoWrist at a much lower rate than Intuitive, and stood to make millions of dollars from these contracts. 

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant found out about the plaintiffs’ contracts and used its substantial influence in the surgical robot market to leverage hospitals, health  care  systems, and GPOs to break or cancel their contracts with the plaintiff, which will cost the plaintiff millions of dollars in damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Haley Guiliano LLP.  The instant action is brought under the Sherman Act, Violation of Lanham Act, attempted monopoly, and exclusive dealing.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment in their favor; an award for damages, costs, and fees; and other relief.