C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR) won another round in its decades-long patent infringement war with W.L. Gore & Assoc. over stent graft technology after a federal judge found yesterday that Gore willfully infringed the patent.
An appeals court last year tasked Judge Mary Murguia of the U.S. District Court for Arizona with reviewing her prior finding of willfulness. Yesterday Murguia upheld that ruling, finding Gore’s infringement willful and declining to revisit her decision on enhanced damages and legal fees and denying Gore’s bid for a new trial, according to court documents.
"[I]t is clear to this court, just as it was to the jury, that defendant, as a ‘reasonable litigant,’ could not have ‘realistically expected’ its defenses to succeed. Defendant’s incautious and arguably reckless defenses were not objectively reasonable. It is unnecessary for the court to reconsider its ruling on enhanced damages and attorney’s fees," according to the documents.
Murguia also granted Bard’s motion to execute on the enhanced damages and legal fees, according to the court records. The decision sets Bard up to collect roughly $800 million in damages, legal costs and royalties, according to the documents.
Gore had alleged that 1 of its engineers, Peter Cooper, invented a key claim in the patent in the early 1970s, according to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed with the high court.
Murguia initially ruled that the patent was invented by Dr. David Goldfarb, who later assigned it to Bard. Her 1st decision boosted Bard’s $185.6 million jury award to $371.2 million, prompting Gore to appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld Murguia in February 2012 (sending BCR shares up 2%) and affirmed that judgment in June 2012. Gore’s subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court in October 2012 was denied early this year. In July, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office upheld the validity of the Bard patent.