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Globus and Stryker in Court Over Young Engineer

Walter Eisner • Mon, December 18th, 2017

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Imagine being a young engineer just a couple years or so out of college and having two spine industry giants go into federal court over your services.

That's what has happened to Madeline Davis as Globus Medical, Inc. and Stryker Corporation are going to federal court over Stryker's hiring of Davis. Globus sued Stryker and Davis, a former Globus engineer, on November 20, 2017, for allegedly taking proprietary trade secrets with her when she left Globus and went to work for Stryker on November 1, 2017.

Non-Compete, Non-Compete Allegations

According to a lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court for New Jersey, Davis was hired by Globus in 2015 as an associate project engineer. She was promoted to project engineer in January 2017. She worked on the Forge corticocancellous spacer for cervical fusion.

Globus contends that non-compete and non-disclosure (NCND) agreements signed by Davis prohibit her from engaging “in any competitive activity with any competing company,” defined as “participation in, performance of services for, employment by, ownership of any interest in, or assistance, promotion or organization of, any competing company” worldwide.

Poppycock, countered Stryker in a November 14, 2017 letter cited by MassDevice. Stryker said Davis was not in violation of her agreements because she’s not working in a competitive capacity as an advanced operations project manager “responsible for the design transfer and validation of an orthopedic product that has already been designed by Stryker.”

Davis' new job, said Stryker, involves the manufacturing process for already-designed metal products, not products still in development using biologic materials such as those used by Globus.

Globus responded to that argument by noting that “every product undergoes design changes as the product transfers from a prototype to manufacture. Ms. Davis’s role, therefore, would require her to be involved in the design process for new products that would directly compete with Globus.”

Globus also claimed that Davis had no medical device industry experience before going to work for the company, the implication being that everything she knows she learned at Globus.

According to an affidavit, Davis said her job at Globus was not her first experience in the medical device industry. "I graduated from Clemson University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering Engineering. Following graduation, I worked as a Product Development Engineer for Unilife Corporation, focusing on the development of reusable and disposable auto-injector product lines. In that role, and not in my role at Globus, I obtained experience in the creation, execution, and documentation of testing procedures to be used in design verification testing—general engineering skills which I will now use again at Howmedica.”

She also said she has no knowledge or understanding of “companywide strategic analyses regarding sales, budget, and forecast information underlying the products I worked on, let alone any other Globus products. I was neither a manager, nor a director, nor a higher-level executive who would have had any responsibility whatsoever for understanding companywide strategic analyses.”

No news of any settlement discussions has been announced.

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