24 October 2013

C.R. Bard secures $1 billion damages in patent victory

The US District Court for the District of Arizona has rejected technology company W.L. Gore’s motion for a new trial to amend the judgment of its patent dispute with medical device maker C.R. Bard.

The court again found Bard’s patent 6,436,135, which covers vascular grafts, or prosthetic blood vessels, was wilfully infringed by Gore.

Bard’s motion to execute on the portion of the judgment that is final and not subject to appeal was also granted by Judge Murguia; an amount of more than $800 million.

A jury rendered its initial decision in December 2007, awarding Bard $185 million in damages. Judge Murguia later doubled the damages based on Gore’s wilful infringement on the patent. By the middle of 2013, considering interest, royalties and other judgments, total damages amount to more than $1 billion.

After endorsing the 2007 jury verdict, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded the court’s denial of Gore’s motion for judgment as a matter of law for reconsideration, following the appellate court’s clarification on the standard for wilful patent infringement.

According to a statement released by law firm Latham and Watkins, lead counsel in the case that represented Bard in the appeal, Gore’s infringement of the patent was found to be “wilful and objectively reckless.”

Bard and inventor David Goldfarb received the patent in 2002, after an 28-year-long dispute at the US Patent and Trademark Office that later determined Goldfarb was the inventor.

Laura Masurovsky, partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP in Washington, DC, said that this case had gone on longer than most: “I’d be surprised if it wasn't the absolute longest patent case that has ever circulated through the Federal Circuit.”

She added: “By the same token, patent cases do take a long time to resolve and it’s not uncommon to have a number of years between a verdict and an ultimate resolution.

“On appeal a case can be remanded – as we saw was done in this case – for further determination by a trial judge. That can then also be appealed which can extend the time for final resolution.”

Bard filed this patent infringement suit in March 2003.

Gore did not respond to a request for comment.

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