Updated 1/23/2012 at 12:00 p.m. with comment from St. Jude Medical.
St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) won $27.1 million in a patent infringement decision against Access Closure Inc. over technologies used to close holes in arteries.
Judge Harry Barnes of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas found that Access willfully infringed on 4 St. Jude patent claims, finding in favor of Access for 4 additional St. Jude infringement claims.
Judge Barnes granted St. Jude $27.1 million in damages for 2 of the claims of infringement, but has yet to calculate damages for the 2 additional claims or for "supplemental damages."
Additional damages may include pre-judgment interest, costs, enhanced damages based on willful infringement, attorney fees, post-judgment interest and other fees deemed appropriate, according to court documents.
"We are pleased with the progress of this litigation and as we move forward, we will continue to vigorously defend the investments we have made in our vascular closure device platform," St. Jude spokeswoman Amy Jo Meyer told MassDevice in an email. "Protecting our patented technology will allow St. Jude Medical to further invest in its product platforms, enabling further technology advancements for the benefit of physicians, patients and hospitals."
In 2010 a jury found that Access violated a St. Jude patent, but also found the patent invalid because of its close similarity to another piece of St. Jude’s intellectual property.
St. Jude argued that federal safe harbor rules apply to the patents, and Judge Barnes ruled in Nov. 2011 that they were protected from Access’ challenge even though the patents were similar enough to be deemed invalid.
Safe harbor rules protect patents that arise for patent applications that cover more than one invention. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office can force those applications to be split so that each patent covers only one invention. In those cases, the split patent is given "safe harbor" from charges of double-patenting.
Access Closure did not return requests for comment.