BOTHELL, WA - May 27, 2008 - Sonosite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader and specialist in hand-carried ultrasound at the point-of-care, said today that the General Electric Company (GE) filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on May 22 seeking to invalidate Sonosite's US Patent No. 5,722,412, "Hand Held Ultrasonic Diagnostic Instrument" ("the 412 patent").
Sonosite has performed a preliminary assessment of the case and believes GE's claim is baseless and without merit. "GE's latest filing is yet another attempt to slow our strong momentum," said Kevin M. Goodwin, Sonosite President and CEO. "Our momentum is growing because our small, innovative hand-carried systems are having a significant, global impact on patient safety and the cost of healthcare. Because GE is not winning with product innovation or customers, they challenge us in the courts yet again by filing another meritless lawsuit. We strongly believe that there is no legal basis for this lawsuit and we will proceed firmly ahead to defend our legal rights.
We will continue to invest in customer-centered innovation, education and service while remaining focused on the needs of clinicians at the point-of-care." In October 2007, Sonosite introduced its fourth generation of hand-carried ultrasound products. The company shipped the industry's first hand-carried ultrasound system in 1999 and today has an installed base of over 40,000 systems worldwide with annual revenues having grown twenty times since initial shipment of generation one. Sonosite's rugged, lightweight systems have revolutionized medical care by bringing high performance ultrasound visualization to the point of patient care in anesthesia, surgery, critical care, emergency medicine and other medical specialties. Built to military specification, hundreds of Sonosite systems are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to aid in triaging wounded troops.
Most recently, Sonosite systems were dispatched to help victims in the aftermath of the earthquake in China. This is the second lawsuit that GE has filed against Sonosite alleging patent infringement. On May 15, 2007, GE sued Sonosite in the same federal court in Wisconsin alleging that the company infringed certain GE patents. Sonosite has denied all of GE's claims and alleged that the asserted patents are either invalid, not infringed, or both. Sonosite has filed counterclaims asserting that GE and its affiliated companies infringe four Sonosite patents covering various core ultrasound-related technologies.
Sonosite, Inc. (www.sonosite.com) is the innovator and world leader in hand-carried ultrasound. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by 10 subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 100 countries. The company employs over 600 people worldwide.
Forward-looking Information and the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Certain statements in this press release relating to the market acceptance of our products, possible future sales relating to expected orders, and our future financial position and operating results are "forward-looking statements" for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of our management at the time the statements are made and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements are not guaranties of future performance and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions. Factors that could affect the rate and extent of market acceptance of our products, the receipt of expected orders, and our financial performance include our ability to successfully manufacture, market and sell our ultrasound systems, our ability to accurately forecast customer demand for our products, our ability to manufacture and ship our systems in a timely manner to meet customer demand, variability in quarterly results caused by the timing of large project orders from governmental or international entities and the seasonality of hospital purchasing patterns, timely receipts of regulatory approvals to market and sell our products, regulatory and reimbursement changes in various national health care markets, constraints in government and public health spending, the ability of our distribution partners and other sales channels to market and sell our products, the impact of patent litigation, our ability to execute our acquisition strategy, the effect of transactions and activities associated with our issuance of senior convertible debt in July 2007 on the market price of our common stock, and as well as other factors contained in the Item 1A. "Risk Factors" section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution readers not to place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements that speak only as to the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events or circumstances after the date of this release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.