Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2014
Commitments And Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies



The Company leases its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Irvine, California and also leases certain other facilities, office equipment, and automobiles under various operating lease arrangements. Future minimum rental commitments under operating lease agreements with non-cancelable terms greater than one year for the years ending December 31, 2014 and 2015, totaled $166,000 and $333,000, respectively.

Employee arrangements and other compensation

Certain members of management are entitled to severance benefits payable upon termination following a change in control, which would approximate $503,000, in the aggregate, at September 30, 2014. The Company also has agreements with certain employees to pay bonuses based on targeted performance criteria. As of September 30, 2014, approximately $125,000 was accrued for performance bonuses, which is included in accrued liabilities in the consolidated balance sheets.

Purchase commitments

The Company generally purchases components and subassemblies for its products from a limited group of third party suppliers through purchase orders. As of September 30, 2014, the Company had $12.9 million of purchase commitments for which the Company has not received the goods or services and which is expected to be purchased within one year. These purchase commitments were made to secure better pricing and to ensure the Company will have the necessary parts to meet anticipated near term demand.


The Company discloses material loss contingencies deemed to be reasonably possible and accrues for loss contingencies when, in consultation with its legal advisors, management concludes that a loss is probable and reasonably estimable. The ability to predict the ultimate outcome of such matters involves judgments, estimates, and inherent uncertainties. The actual outcome of such matters could differ materially from management’s estimates.

Class Action Lawsuits

On August 23, 2013, a purported class action lawsuit entitled Brady Adams v. Biolase, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-CV-1300 JST (FFMx) was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against BIOLASE and its then Chief Executive Officer, Federico Pignatelli, and its Chief Financial Officer, Frederick D. Furry. On August 26, 2013, a purported class action lawsuit entitled Ralph Divizio v. Biolase, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-CV-1317 DMG (MRWx) was filed in the same court against BIOLASE, Messrs. Pignatelli and Furry, and its then President and Chief Operating Officer, Alexander K. Arrow. Each of the lawsuits alleges violations of the federal securities laws and asserts causes of action against the defendants under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In accordance with the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, on December 10, 2013, the court entered an order consolidating the lawsuits, appointing a lead plaintiff and approving the lead plaintiff’s selection of lead counsel. On February 24, 2014, the lead plaintiff filed a consolidated complaint against the Company and Messrs. Pignatelli, Furry, and Arrow, alleging violations of the federal securities laws and asserting causes of action against the defendants under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

On November 19, 2013, the Company’s Board received a letter from attorneys for purported shareholder David T. Long, demanding that the Board investigate, institute litigation, and take measures to redress and prevent alleged wrongdoing concerning the dissemination of certain allegedly false and misleading public disclosures made by the Company between January 2013 and August 2013.

The Company believes that the claims contained in the lawsuits are without merit and intends to vigorously defend against the claims. During the year ended December 31, 2013, the Company paid $250,000 for legal costs incurred in connection with these matters. No legal costs were incurred by the Company in connection with these matters during the nine months ended September 30, 2014.

The parties have since reached an agreement in principle to settle the consolidated securities class action lawsuit, which is subject to the negotiation of a definitive settlement agreement and preliminary and final approval of the court. Although there can be no assurance that such agreement will be finalized, as of the date of these financial statements, management does not expect the Company to incur additional expenses related to this matter due to certain insurance coverage in place.

Shareholder Litigation

On March 3 and 6, 2014, the Company disclosed that the Board had appointed Paul N. Clark and Jeffrey M. Nugent to the Board and Dr. Alexander K. Arrow and Dr. Samuel B. Low had tendered their resignations. Subsequent to these disclosures, questions were raised by Federico Pignatelli, the Company’s former Chairman of the Board and former Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) as to whether these changes were effected.  

On March 11, 2014, Oracle Partners L.P. (“Oracle”) filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery seeking a determination of the composition of the Company’s Board and a temporary restraining order that would preclude the Company’s Board from taking any action without the approval of the four directors whose directorships Oracle and the Company agreed to be undisputed. On March 20, 2014, the Court of Chancery issued a Status Quo Order which fixed the Company’s Board at four members, consisting of Messrs. Pignatelli and James R. Talevich and Drs. Norman J. Nemoy and Frederic H. Moll, pending further decision in the litigation.

A trial was held on April 24 and 25, 2014 and on May 28, 2014 the Court of Chancery determined that the Company’s Board was comprised of five members, consisting of Messrs. Clark, Pignatelli, and Talevich and Drs. Moll and Nemoy. Subsequent to the Court of Chancery decision, the Company obtained a temporary stay pending appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.

The Delaware Supreme Court heard the case on June 11, 2014. On June 12, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the Court of Chancery’s decision and Mr. Pignatelli resigned from his roles as Chairman of the Board and CEO. On June 17, 2014, Mr. Clark was named Chairman of the Board and Mr. Nugent was added as the sixth member of the Board and also named Acting CEO.

On July 21, 2014, Mr. Pignatelli filed a complaint in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, naming the Company, Messrs. Clark, Nugent and Talevich and Dr. Moll as defendants. The complaint alleged, among other things, that (a) a slate of director nominees proposed by Mr. Pignatelli was valid, (b) certain members of the Company’s Board breached their fiduciary duties by rejecting Mr. Pignatelli’s slate, (c) the Company breached an agreement between Mr. Pignatelli and one current and several former Board members to nominate him for election, and (d) the Company’s recently enacted bylaw amendments, including a fee-shifting bylaw provision, were invalid. Mr. Pignatelli sought expedited proceedings with respect to all of his claims other than the claims relating to the recently enacted bylaw amendments.

On July 24, 2014, the Chancery Court denied Mr. Pignatelli’s motion for expedited proceedings on all but one of his claims (the rejection of Mr. Pignatelli’s slate).

On July 29, 2014, Mr. Pignatelli filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of his July 21, 2014 complaint and withdrew his lawsuit.

Intellectual Property Litigation

On April 24, 2012, CAO Group, Inc. (“CAO”) filed a lawsuit against the Company in the District of Utah for patent infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,485,116 (the “116 Patent”) regarding the Company’s ezlase dental laser. On September 9, 2012, CAO filed its First Amended Complaint, which added claims for (1) business disparagement/injurious falsehood under common law and (2) unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. Section 1125(a). The additional claims stem from a press release that the Company issued on April 30, 2012, which CAO claims contained false statements that are disparaging to CAO and its diode product. The First Amended Complaint seeks injunctive relief, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, punitive damages, and interest. On November 13, 2012, the Court stayed the lawsuit for 120 days to allow the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to consider the Company’s request for reexamination of the patent-in-suit. The USPTO granted the request to reexamine the asserted claims of the patent-in-suit and, on February 28, 2013, the Court stayed the lawsuit until the termination of the reexamination proceedings. On April 23, 2013, the USPTO issued an office action rejecting all of the asserted claims over the prior art, and CAO responded to the office action. On August 28, 2013, the USPTO issued an Action Closing Procedure, rejecting all of CAO’s patent claims. CAO responded to the USPTO’s ruling and on December 10, 2013, the USPTO issued a Right of Appeal Notice, finally rejecting some claims of the 116 Patent while finding that other claims appeared to be patentable. Both parties are permitted to appeal the USPTO’s findings to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “PTAB”). The Company appealed the USPTO’s findings on January 9, 2014 and on January 27, 2014, the USPTO declined to reconsider the finding of certain claims as patentable and instructed the parties to proceed to appeal to the PTAB. On March 17, 2014, the Company filed its brief in support of its appeal of the USPTO’s decision not to reject certain claims of the 116 Patent. On March 24, 2014, CAO filed its brief in support of its appeal of the USPTO’s decision to reject certain claims of the 116 patent. On April 18, 2014, the Company filed a respondent brief in opposition to the CAO’s appeal arguments. On May 30, 2014, both parties filed rebuttal briefs in support of their appeals.  On June 30, 2014, the Company requested an oral hearing before the Board.  On July 1, 2014, the Board noted that request and docketed the case for consideration.  A hearing has been scheduled for November 19, 2014.

The Company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Fotona dd. (“Fotona”) in Düsseldorf District Court (the “Düsseldorf Court”) on April 12, 2012 alleging infringement with respect to the Fotona Fidelis dental laser system. Fotona denies liability and seeks the reimbursement of statutory fees from the Company. Together with its response brief, Fotona also filed a nullity action against the patent in dispute, patent number EP 1 560 470. The nullity action is pending at the German Federal Patent Court (the “Patent Court”), Docket No. 1 Ni 58/13 (EP). On September 2, 2013, the Company filed its counterplea in the infringement proceedings and phrased its arguments defending the validity of the patent. These arguments were also the subject of the defense brief to the Patent Court in the parallel nullity action proceedings. On September 9, 2013, the Company filed its response to the Patent Court. Fotona filed a rejoinder on February 3, 2014, including its counterplea on nullity.

On April 29, 2014, the Düsseldorf Court rendered a first instance decision whereby Fotona must cease and desist from selling its Fidelis and Lightwalker dental laser systems, render accounts on past sales, recall respective products, and pay damages on infringement. Additionally, the Company was awarded statutory fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees. Preliminary enforcement against Fotona is possible if the Company posts a bond totaling €500,000, which is designed to cover a portion of the potential damages, before a final instance decision is available. In Germany, damages can be calculated based on the profits made by the infringer after the formal announcement of the granting of a patent, in this case beginning January 1, 2009, without considering direct labor or any other operational costs. This could amount to several million euros; however, Fotona has yet to provide the details of its profits in order to allow the Company to calculate the damages. In the two additional first instance cases following the extension of the initial lawsuit against Fotona, the Düsseldorf Court also required the Company to provide a statutory bond totaling €146,000. Such bonds are traditionally imposed on foreign plaintiffs to cover all statutory, court, and attorney’s fees. Fotona submitted its responses to the action and filed respective invalidation actions against the rights of the Company, which are now pending at the Patent Court and the Federal Patent and Trademark Office.

Other Matters

In the normal course of business, the Company may be subject to other legal proceedings, lawsuits and other claims. Although the ultimate aggregate amount of probable monetary liability or financial impact with respect to these matters is subject to many uncertainties and is therefore not predictable with assurance, the Company’s management believes that any monetary liability or financial impact to the Company from these other matters, individually and in the aggregate, would not be material to the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. However, there can be no assurance with respect to such result, and monetary liability or financial impact to the Company from these other matters could differ materially from those projected.