Cordis Corp. and a co-defendant appealed a jury verdict awarding Spectralytics Inc. $22.5 million in a laser stent-cutting patent infringement suit.
Cordis and Norman Noble Inc. filed the appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Spectralytics had sued the pair in July 2005 in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, alleging infringement of a patent for a “Laser Cutting Tool for Cutting Elongated Hollow Workpieces.”
In February, a jury decided for Spectralytics, ruling that Cordis owed $22.5 million to the company (representing a 5 percent royalty on sales by Noble to Cordis of stents cut with the infringing devices).
Cordis and Noble filed a motion seeking a new trial later in February; earlier this month, Judge Patrick Schiltz denied that request and enjoined the pair from making or selling any devices using the infringing technology, affirming the jury’s award but refusing to award the enhanced damages sought by Spectralytics.
Schiltz’s decision to uphold the jury’s verdict came despite his belief that a different outcome would have come from a non-jury trial, according to court documents.
“As the Court has said in the past, if this case had been tried to the Court, the Court likely would have found the ‘277 patent invalid,” he wrote, adding that he found the size of the award troubling (Cordis had protested the award, saying it was more than eight times the estimated value of Spectralytics at the time).
“The Court was initially troubled by the jury’s verdict on damages and thus was inclined to grant Cordis’s post-trial motion with respect to damages. After much reflection, however — and after having read and re-read much of the trial transcript — the Court is persuaded that the jury’s verdict should stand,” Schiltz wrote. “The reasonable-royalty damages awarded by the jury are certainly generous, but they have a sufficient basis in the evidence at trial and do not reflect a miscarriage of justice.”
As for Spectralytics’ motion for enhanced damages on the grounds that Cordis lawyers issued “frivolous” discovery objections to conceal documents “until the eve of trial” and “inappropriately told the jury and the Court that this case was ‘frivolous’ and a ‘shakedown,'” the judge ruled that neither side’s legal team earned any laurels.
“This was a very hard-fought case with much at stake, and counsel on both sides behaved, at times, less than admirably,” Schiltz wrote. “The Court will not reward the pot for the kettle’s misbehavior.”