Xesai /
27 August 2018Americas

J&J medical device unit to pay $8.2m in patent dispute

A Wisconsin jury has concluded that medical device company DePuy Synthes should pay $8.2 million for wilfully infringing an orthopaedic implant patent.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, August 21, a jury at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin awarded the damages to Acantha, which had sued DePuy back in 2015.

The trial was heard over seven days by Chief Judge William Griesbach, according to law firm Caldwell Cassady & Curry, which represented Acantha.

Acantha had accused DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of infringing US patent number RE43,008, which covers an orthopaedic implant assembly used to join bone segments. The patent was originally issued in 2001 before being reissued in 2011.

David Talaber, one of the two co-inventors of the ‘008 patent, allegedly informed DePuy’s predecessors about the patent a year after it was issued.

According to Acantha, Talaber’s co-inventor James Lloyd travelled to DePuy’s Massachusetts headquarters in 2006 to discuss certain problems “plaguing DePuy’s current spinal implants and how Acantha’s technology would solve those problems”. However, DePuy did not license the patent.

Subsequently, Acantha claimed that DePuy infringed the ‘008 patent in a series of spine implant devices, including the Zero-P VA System and the Vectra, Vectra-T, and Vectra-One products.

“In committing these acts of infringement, defendants acted despite an objectively high likelihood that their actions constituted infringement of at least one valid patent, and defendants knew or should have known that their actions constituted an unjustifiably high risk of infringement of a valid and enforceable patent,” said the suit.

The jury awarded a royalty rate of 6.5% with a royalty base of nearly $127 million, amounting to $8.2 million of damages in total.

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