A federal jury this week awarded more than $8 million in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Acantha against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Synthes over an orthopedic implant assembly.
Acantha accused DePuy of infringing the patent with its Vector and Zero-P VA product lines. After the patent originally issued in 2001 and was reissued in 2011, Acantha began discussions with DePuy about licensing the patent, but the negotiations never progressed to a deal.
Instead, Acantha in 2003 inked an agreement with Stryker (NYSE:SYK)’s spine division to use the patent in its products, later meeting with DePuy for possible licensing in 2006. In one of the meetings, “a DePuy executive noted that DePuy believed the Vector product manufactured by Synthes infringed Acantha’s intellectual property,” which Acantha said it was aware of, according to court documents. In 2011, J&J’s DePuy merged with Synthes.
In 2013, Acantha and Stryker amended the licensing agreement on the patent to make it non-exclusive, with Stryker agreeing to continue marking its products with the patent number. Acantha sued DePuy in 2014; last April, the judge overseeing the case capped any potential damages award to the last four years.
After a seven-day trial, the jury in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin deliberated for five hours August 21 before returning a verdict in favor of Acantha, finding that DePuy infringed nine claims with the Vectra products and six claims with the Zero-P VA devices.
The infringement was willful, the jury found, and none of the patent’s claims were invalid due to obviousness. At a royalty rate of 6.5% on a base of $126.9 million, the jury awarded $8.2 million in damages to Acantha, according to court documents.
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