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Medicrea Sues K2M Over Poaching Allegations

Walter Eisner • Thu, December 21st, 2017

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Sales force and technology poaching allegations aren't just for the likes of the orthopedics giants like Stryker Corporation and Zimmer Biomet, Inc. anymore. The smaller players are also getting into the action.

On November 8, 2017, France's Medicrea Group filed a lawsuit against K2M Spine, Inc. and several other defendants over alleged misappropriation of Medicrea’s technology and poached sales reps. The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Medicrea is the developer and manufacturer of the UNiD™ Adaptive Spine Intelligence (ASI) technology, the first and only, according to the company, patient-specific spinal rod approved for use in the U.S.

According to court documents reported by MassDevice, Medicrea is seeking a temporary restraining order against K2M Spine and Kinetic Surgical, as well as former sales representatives Chad Jackson, Thom Thomas, Lauren Brown and William Haigh.

Medicrea alleges in the lawsuit that the defendants "are attempting to misappropriate Medicrea’s technology and eliminate the first mover competitive advantage Medicrea currently enjoys as a result of establishing this emerging market."

In one example, Medicrea describes K2M Spine’s alleged “carefully orchestrated conspiracy” to gain access to confidential data. "Medicrea alleges that in September, Brown and Haigh were forwarded an e-mail between K2M sales executives and Kinetic’s owner, Joseph Furtek, which included details about Brown and Haigh’s hiring as well as information about K2M’s meetings with two Medicrea customers who worked with Brown and Haigh," states the MassDevice report.

The e-mail also allegedly detailed K2M’s plans to convert business from those two clients. The company alleges that Haigh tried, unsuccessfully, to delete copies of that particular e-mail chain.

Medicrea also claimed that Brown tried to erase all records on her company-owned phone and laptop in early October. Later that month, Brown allegedly visited a Medicrea customer as a K2M sales associate, which the company said violates her non-competition agreement.

The judge ordered K2M to show cause by the end of November as to why a temporary restraining order is not needed. The judge also denied Medicrea’s request to proceed ex parte. No further news has been reported on the case.

Medicrea has 175 employees worldwide, which includes 50 based in the U.S. The company has a manufacturing facility in Lyon, France housing the development and production of 3D-printed titanium patient-specific implants.

K2M had total 2017 third quarter revenue of $62.7 million, up 6% year-over-year. Medicrea's 2017 third quarter revenue totaled €6.4 million, down 5% year-over-year.

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