RTI alleged that BD made false claims in ads that its Integra, Safety-Lok, SafetyGlide and Eclipse safety syringes boast the "world’s sharpest needle" and about the amount of "waste space" RTI’s VanishPoint syringe.
In September 2013 a jury found for RTI, awarding $113.5 million after finding that BD violated the Lanham Act’s false advertising proscription. BD later lost an initial bid to toss the case, after Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas ruled that infringement can constitute anti-competitive behavior. In October Davis declined BD’s bid to overturn the verdict.
RTI asked Davis to order BD to forfeit "the profits BD made on its syringe products in excess of the antitrust damages awarded, or about $275 million," according to court documents. Davis agreed yesterday that BD should disgorge profits, but found that it already will because the anti-trust damages are slated to be tripled.
"Here, the principles of equity require BD to forfeit a portion of its profits. However, BD has already done so by paying the trebled amount of its antitrust damages. The $340,524,042 BD must pay is a sufficient monetary sanction in this case," Davis wrote.
Becton, Dickinson & Co. must also notify customers about the false claims, post a notice on its website and provide comprehensive training for employees and distributors to avoid future false claims.
Davis also ruled that RTI’s request for $36.5 million in legal fees was too high and ordered the company to recalculate the amount.
It’s the latest development in a long-running patent battle between the companies. RTI sued in 2007 on allegations that Becton’s Integra syringes infringed patents covering its competing VanishPoint devices.
A federal appeals court decided in July 2011 to reverse an earlier jury finding that both the 1m and 3ml sizes of the BD syringe infringed the Retractable patent, ruling that only the smaller size trespassed on the intellectual property.
That same court later denied Retractable’s bid for a re-hearing, setting the stage for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the high court refused to hear Retractable’s appeal, prompting the current lawsuit. In September Davis dismissed BD’s move to nix the trial, finding sufficient evidence "suggesting that [Becton’s] contracts have anti-competitive effects."
Material from Reuters was used in this report.
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