Jury slaps Cochlear Ltd. with $131M infringement verdict

Jury slaps Cochlear Ltd. with $131M infringement verdict

Cochlear Ltd. (ASX:COH) is on the hook for $131.2 million after a California jury decided that it deliberately infringed a pair of cochlear implant patents licensed to rival Advanced Bionics by the Alfred E. Mann Foundation, named for 1 of the inventors of cochlear implant technology.

The foundation sued Cochlear Ltd. in 2007, alleging infringement of a pair of patents covering the hearing implant technology. After a jury trial last week, the jurors found that Cochlear infringed both patents, ruling the infringement willful.

That sets the plaintiffs up for triple damages, should Judge Fernando Olguin of the U.S. District Court for Central California affirm the verdict.

Cochlear pointed out in a statement that Olguin has yet to enter a judgment in the case based on the verdict "as important issues still remain to be decided."

"These decisions may negate some of the findings of the jury and could alter the damages awarded by the jury," the Sydney, Australia-based company said. "Cochlear believes the facts and the law do not support the jury’s findings and will seek to overturn the verdict in post-trial motions with the district court and, if necessary, through the appeals process."

"We strongly disagree with the jury verdict and will appeal any judgment entered against Cochlear by the court," president & CEO Chris Roberts said in prepared remarks.

However it goes, the case won’t affect Cochlear’s U.S. business, because 1 of the patents expired in 2009 and the other is set to expire in March, according to a press release.