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Phenomenex Sues Thermo Fisher over Claims About LC Columns

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In a lawsuit filed this week, separation science firm Phenomenex accused Thermo Fisher Scientific of false advertising in an e-mail that compared each company's liquid chromatography columns.

The suit was filed in US District Court, Central District of California.

In its complaint, Phenomenex, based in Torrance, Calif. alleges that a Thermo Fisher manager for LC and LC-MS columns sent an e-mail on or about Oct. 17 to that firm's distributors. The e-mail contained false and misleading claims about Phenomenex's Kinetex LC columns, Phenomenex alleges.

In the e-mail, the manager, Dafydd Milton, said that "Phenomenex claim[s] that ultra-high pressure in not needed, but the backpressure observed was over 400 bar!" implying that Phenomenex's claim about ultra-high pressure is false, and that, in fact, such high pressure is needed.

That claim by Milton is false, Phenomenex alleges.

Further, the e-mail compared Phenomenex's Kinetex 50 mm long column with Thermo Fisher's 30 mm long Hypersil Gold 1.9 μm column, and said that the Hypersil generates a lower backpressure than Phenomenex's column.

"…for the purpose of comparing backpressures of HPLC columns of differing particle sizes, the use of columns of different lengths is false and/or misleading," Phenomenex said in its complaint.

Thermo Fisher's claims, Phenomenex said, have harmed the company "irreparably … and such irreparable injury will continue unless and until enjoined" by the court.

Phenomenex is seeking unspecified damages as well as attorneys' fees and court costs.

It also is seeking an injunction against Thermo Fisher from making further similar statements about its Kinetex product, and wants Thermo Fisher to "distribute corrective advertising [prepared by Phenomenex] to all persons that accessed, received, or otherwise were exposed to the false and misleading representations."

Thermo Fisher did not respond to a request for comment.

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