A federal jury in San Francisco awarded Covidien plc (MKT:COV) subsidiary VNUS Medical Technologies Inc. $46 million in a patent infringement trial over a laser-based method for treating varicose veins.
The verdict in the U.S. District Court for Northern California went against Total Vein Solutions LLC and Biolitec AG, which must pay $36.5 and $9.3 million, respectively.
Houston-based TVS plans to challenge the jury’s decision, which also invalidated some of VNUS’s patent claims for a endovenous laser ablation method.
"[Total Vein] agrees with the jury’s findings that certain claims in VNUS’ ‘084, ‘803 and ‘355 patents were invalid," president Tyri Schiek said in prepared remarks.
"TVS will continue business as usual and is confident that those findings of the jury that were in error will be overturned, either by the trial court or at the appellate level," CEO David Centanni said in prepared remarks. He called the damages awarded to VNUS "grossly inflated."
VNUS began its litigation against TVS and Jena, Germany-based surgical and cosmetic laser developer Biolitec in 2008 for "indirect patent infringement, by way of contributory and induced infringement," according to TVS. The suits related to TVS’ sales of laser fibers, laser consoles, introducer kits and procedure packs, according to the company. TVS claims that its sales of unpatented products amount to infringing conduct and that the patents in question don’t adequately enable doctors to perform their methods of laser ablation.
"We are pleased that the jury found that Total Vein Solutions and Biolitec willfully infringed our patents. It is our responsibility to protect our intellectual property. This decision supports our commitment to innovation and to provide our customers wih the best possible solutions to treat their patients," Covidien spokesperson Rachel Bloom Baglin told MassDevice.
The Mansfield, Mass.-based company acquired VNUS in May 2009 for $440 million.
Earlier this week, a German court awarded Covidien with preliminary injunctions against one British and four Chinese firms in a patent spat over surgical stapling devices.