Patents on Tap


We are pleased to announce that Howard Root, CEO of Vascular Solutions and author of Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO on the Feds’ Hit List, will present at Fish & Richardson’s Patents on Tap event on Thursday, March 9. The first 30 attendees will receive a copy of Howard's book.

Howard started his career as a corporate lawyer, but early on he turned entrepreneur and never looked back. In 1997, Howard started Vascular Solutions, a medical device company he continued to run for 20 years, inventing and launching over 100 new cardiovascular devices and creating over 600 U.S. jobs along the way. In December, Howard announced the sale of Vascular Solutions to Teleflex for $1 billion.

The motivation behind the sale of Vascular Solutions is a true-life legal nightmare. It started as a false accusation by a disgruntled former employee, and culminated five years later in a San Antonio courtroom with "not guilty" verdicts on all charges after a five-week criminal trial. Even a single felony guilty verdict would have resulted in exclusion of Vascular Solutions from selling any of its medical devices in the U.S. and sent Howard to prison for at least three years. This was a federal criminal prosecution concerning the words spoken by the company's salespeople about an FDA-cleared medical device that constituted only 0.1% of the company's sales and never harmed a single patient. Defending against the false criminal charges required a defense team of 121 lawyers at a cost of $25 million, but did not require a single witness to be called by the defense to testify at trial. And then, even though he was exonerated, Howard made the decision to sell Vascular Solutions and retire rather than continue to assume the legal risks of a public company CEO.

In this session, Howard will discuss the wide-ranging and critical lessons he learned in his defense against a malicious criminal prosecution brought by federal prosecutors in a DOJ culture that distorts voluminous federal regulations to manufacture criminal charges against companies and their officers and employees.