UPDATED March 29, 2013, with comment from Covidien.
Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled that Ethicon Endo-Surgery infringed 6 claims in 3 patents held by Covidien’s corporate predecessors, Tyco Healthcare and U.S. Surgical Corp., with products including its Autosonix and LCS ultrasonic scalpels (Covidien’s competing products include its Harmonic Shears, according to the court documents).
Covidien "proved infringement of all asserted claims of the patents in suit" but failed to prove willful infringement (closing the door on the possibility of triple damages) and isn’t entitled to lost profits damages or a preliminary injunction, Arterton wrote, according to the documents.
"[T]he evidence presented at trial shows that Tyco’s and Ethicon’s advanced energy products directly competed with each other," Arterton wrote. "Tyco is entitled to 8% royalty damages and 3.25% prejudgment interest for damages in the total amount of $176,500,800.00."
Arterton decided that the infringing sales by Ethicon from April 1, 2004, to March 31, 2012, amounted to $1.75 billion, using that figure to calculate the damages. The royalty damages were $140.1 million and the prejudgment interest amounted to $36.4 million, according to court documents.
“As a global healthcare market leader, Covidien invests significant resources into creating and developing medical innovations. We are pleased that the federal court recognized our innovation in ultrasonic surgical devices, finding our patents both valid and infringed by Ethicon Endo-Surgery. We will continue to vigorously protect our innovative products, solutions and intellectual property,” said Chris Barry, Covidien’s advanced surgical technologies president, in prepared remarks.