Viken Detection, a small developer and manufacturer of security detection equipment, said on Monday it is being sued by American Science & Engineering (AS&E), which is part of OSI Systems


Viken said the suit, which it calls “groundless,” also pertains to Peter Rothschild, the company’s founder and chief technology officer (CTO) and the former chief scientists of AS&E.

OSI Systems declined to comment about the lawsuit, which was filed last week in a Massachusetts state court. Viken said the legal action is “based on concocted allegations of events that supposedly took place over six years ago, when Dr. Rothschild left AS&E to start Viken.”

Viken said the timing of the lawsuit is suspect because U.S. Customs and Border Protection is on the verge of initiating a competition for large-scale cargo and vehicle inspection systems that will result in the purchase of more than $600 million in equipment for deployment at ports of entry on the southwest border in the next few years.

OSI Systems’ Rapiscan division, which includes AS&E, develops and manufactures a wide range of security detection equipment, including the large-scale non-intrusive inspection (NII) systems that CBP will be purchasing over the next few years. AS&E’s equipment is based on backscatter X-ray technology, as is Viken’s.

Viken makes a popular handheld detector for helping to find concealed explosives, drugs and contraband inside vehicles, and last fall introduced an under-vehicle inspection system for real-time imaging of compartments and spaces beneath where occupants are sitting for relatively high-throughput uses at border, critical infrastructure and other checkpoint applications.

This year, Viken plans to introduce its first drive-through portal inspection system, which, if successful, would be in a position to compete for the large-scale NII work forthcoming from CBP. The portal system would complement the under-vehicle inspection system.

“Despite this attack from a company 50 times our size, Viken remains resilient and resolute in our mission to provide the most advanced, effective and safe drug interdiction technologies to officers on the front line,” Jim Ryan, CEO of Viken, said in a statement. “With the full support of our Board of Directors, Viken will vigorously defend itself and is prepared to pursue all available claims and counterclaims against AS&E.”

Viken said that AS&E recently tried to rehire Rothschild. It also said it that AS&E in its lawsuit is relying selectively “on discredited individuals—including one who has pleaded the Fifth Amendment to accusations of planting documents to frame Dr. Rothschild, and another who was terminated by Viken several years ago—while ignoring the sworn statements of AS&E’s own former CTO, which undermine their allegations.”

OSI Systems had nearly $1.2 billion in sales in its most recent fiscal year, including nearly $750 million in its security business.