Smith & Nephew wins $4.7 million patent judgment against Arthrex

February 16, 2010 by MassDevice staff

A jury in Texas awarded Smith & Nephew $4.7 million and ruled that Arthrex Inc. infringed a patent related to its EndoButton knee fixation device.

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A jury in Texas ruled that Arthrex Inc. infringed a patent held by Smith & Nephew Inc. (NYSE:SNN) and awarded a $4.7 million judgment to the British medical device giant.

Smith & Nephew's Andover, Mass.-based endoscopy division sued Naples, Fla.-based Arthrex in 2007 in the United States District Court for Eastern Texas, accusing it of violating a pair of patents covering techniques for attaching anterior cruciate ligament grafts to bone. The companies agreed to dismiss the charges relating to one of the patents, according to court documents, but allowed a jury to decide about the other patent.

That decision went against Arthrex, to the tune of nearly $5 million, after the jury found that its Retrobutton femoral fixation device infringed the remaining patent covering Smith & Nephew's EndoButton fixation device. SNN said it will seek an injunction preventing Arthrex from selling any more Retrobutton products. For its part, Arthrex said its plans include an appeal and no cessation in Retrobutton sales.

The companies are embroiled in another patent spat over shoulder damage repair devices, this time in the U.S District Court for Oregon. Smith & Nephew sued its smaller peer for infringing a patent with Arthrex's SutureTak, PushLock and Bio-PushLock anchors. A federal appeals court overturned a nearly $20.5 million verdict for Smith & Nephew in that case, sending it back to trial. Judge Michael Mosman ordered the sides to report back by April (or sooner if they can settle their donnybrook before then), according to court documents.

Smith & Nephew isn't the only devices giant Arthrex is tangling with. Last September the company scored a win against Raynham, Mass.-based Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Mitek in a patent infringement suit over another ACL repair device. Judge James Rosenbaum of the U.S. District Court for Minnesota excoriated an SNN motion that it couldn't be held liable for any infringement because it's the surgeons using its devices that commit any infringement.

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