Jury Awards Stryker $70 Million in Infringement Suit
The National Law Journal
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that lead counsel for Stryker was Greg Vogler of McAndrews, Held & Malloy.
A jury has awarded $70 million to medical device manufacturer Stryker Corp. in a patent dispute with competitor Zimmer Inc.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., panel voted on February 5 to award Stryker lost profits for Zimmer's infringement on three of its patents. The jury concluded that Zimmer had willfully infringed the patents, allowing U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to impose enhanced damages. He has yet to rule on that point.
The jury rejected Zimmer's claims that Stryker's patents were invalid.
Greg Vogler, a shareholder at Chicago's McAndrews, Held & Malloy, was lead counsel for Stryker. Sharon Hwang, another shareholder on the case, did not return a call for comment. Stryker spokesman Joe Cooper said the company would not comment about legal matters. In court documents, Stryker indicated that, should it obtain a favorable jury verdict, it would seek a permanent injunction to prevent Zimmer from future infringement.
Zimmer's lead counsel, Bryan Hales, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, did not return a call for comment. Company spokesman Garry Clark provided an emailed statement: "Zimmer is disappointed with the verdict and plans to pursue all available post trial relief including an appeal in due course."
Stryker alleged that Zimmer's Pulsavac Plus wound debridement system had infringed on three patents covering its SurgiLav and InterPulse devices, used to spray water on wounds to clean debris from bones during orthopedic surgery, according to court documents. The trial centered on whether Zimmer infringed on one of the patents, since Jonker had ruled for Stryker regarding the other two, and on whether it willfully infringed on all three.
In a December 31 trial brief, Stryker had argued that all three patents had been clearly marked as early as 2004. The $70 million sought by Stryker represents lost profits; the company also sought a 32.2 percent royalty rate against Zimmer's infringing sales.
Zimmer contended that Stryker failed to properly mark its products as patented and that, even if it had infringed, Stryker wasn't entitled to damages incurred before December 10, 2010 the date Stryker filed suit. Zimmer also contended that Stryker had waited too long to file, since it knew of the alleged infringement as early as 2000.
The jury found that if Zimmer continued to infringe on the three patents, Stryker was entitled to a 25 percent royalty rate on its competitor's sales.
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