Applied Medical Resources Corp. isn’t giving up on a patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by Covidien plc (NYSE:COV), despite a jury’s verdict last month awarding nearly $5 million to the Mansfield, Mass.-based medical products conglomerate.
A jury in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas sided with Covidien March 22, awarding damages of $4.8 million in a dispute over Norwalk, Conn.-based AMR’s Kii and Universal Seal laparoscopic trocars. Covidien, which filed the suit under the name of its corporate predecessor Tyco Healthcare Group, alleged that the devices infringed five of its patents.
The jury agreed that AMR’s products infringed one of those patents, "Valve System For Cannula Assembly," and AMR admitted to infringing another patent, for "Valve System For Introducing Objects Into Anatomical Body Portions." Covidien decided to drop the remaining three patents from the trial, according to spokesman David Young.
But last week AMR fought back, asking Judge Keith Giblin to rule that Covidien didn’t supply enough evidence to support the jury’s verdict.
“Tyco had the burden of proving that Applied infringed Claim 6 of the Smith patent. Tyco dropped its claim of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents during trial. As a result, the jury was instructed on literal infringement only. Tyco was required to prove that each and every limitation of Claim 6 was found in the accused products. If even a single claim limitation is missing in the accused products, there can be no literal infringement,” according to court documents. “Substantial evidence does not support the jury’s verdict of infringement. All of the relevant evidence is to the contrary. Accordingly, the Court should rule that the accused products do not infringe Claim 6 of the Smith patent as a matter of law.”
For its part, Covidien asked Giblin for a permanent injunction "barring Applied from making, using, offering to sell, or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States” any products the jury found to infringe its patent. Covidien also asked the judge to award pre- and post-judgment interest on the $4.8 million verdict, according to court documents, "to compensate for the foregone use of their reasonable royalty damages award between the date of Applied’s first infringement in 2004 and the date of entry of final judgment in this matter.” Covidien asked Giblin to use the prime interest rate, compounded quarterly, to calculate the pre-judgment award. Prime rate is "the average interest rate charged by banks to their most credit-worthy customers on unsecured short-term loans when the loans are likely to be repaid," according to court documents.
If Giblin buys Covidien’s argument, he could award pre-judgment interest of as much as $1.7 million, based on the historical prime rate as established by the Federal Reserve.
Covidien also asked the judge to re-consider its motion for a ruling of non-obviousness regarding one of the patents the jury ruled invalid. The company argued that "there was no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find those claims invalid as obvious," according to court documents. For a patent to be valid, it must be proven not to be an obvious solution to someone who’s well-versed in the technical issue at hand.