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20 May 2020AmericasRory O'Neill

Cochlear's $268m damages bill stands, says Fed Circuit

Australian ear implants manufacturer  Cochlear must pay $268 million for infringing a patent owned by a US medical research organisation.

The news comes as the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit refused to review its earlier decision in March ordering Cochlear to pay the damages.

Advanced Bionics, which exclusively licensed the patent from its owner, the  Alfred E Mann Foundation for Scientific Research (AMF), says it is in for a windfall of $124 million from the verdict.

AMF originally brought the patent claims in 2007, over infringing ear implants sold by Cochlear. AB was later added as a co-plaintiff.

The long-running dispute turned in AMF and AB’s favour in November 2018, when the US District Court for the Central District of California reinstated an earlier jury award of $134 million to AMF.

District court judge Fernando Olguin also granted AMF’s motion for enhanced damages for willful infringement of its patent.

Olguin’s ruling was upheld by a panel of the Federal Circuit in March this year, and the full court has now denied Cochlear’s petition for it to review the case en banc.

In a statement, Swiss-owned AB said it was entitled to a share of the verdict as a co-plaintiff, and expected to receive up to CHF120 million ($124 million) from Cochlear in the 2020/21 financial year.

The bad news did not end there for Cochlear, as the Federal Circuit mostly upheld a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision invalidating its patent for a bone-anchored hearing aid.

The PTAB held key patent claims to be invalid, after a petition for inter partes review (IPR) was filed by Danish hearing aid rival Oticon.

Cochlear appealed, while Oticon argued the PTAB had not gone far enough and should have invalidated several other claims as well.

The Federal Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, mostly upheld the PTAB’s decision, affirming the invalidation of the patent and telling the PTAB to revisit one claim that it had originally left intact.

Circuit judge Pauline Newman dissented with respect to the claims originally cancelled by the PTAB, arguing that they were invalidated in error.

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Americas
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