In the case, plaintiff Acantha accused DePuy of infringing on a patent with its Vector and Zero-P VA product lines.
The patent was issued originally in 2001, and reissued in 2002, according to court documents, after which Acantha began discussions with DePuy about licensing the patents. However, both companies never agreed to a licensing deal.
In 2003, Acantha inked an agreement with Stryker (NYSE:SYK)’s spine division to use the patent in its products, and later met 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. In 2014, Acantha filed against DePuy claiming infringement in the Vector and Zero-P VA products, according to court documents.
DePuy and its associated companies asserted that Acantha was limited to recovering damages from 2014, when they filed the claims, and not earlier, due to a number of reasons including that Stryker did not mark the patented products with appropriate labeling identifying the patent.
US District Judge William Griesbach agreed with the defendants, capping damages to only the last four years, according to court documents.