A federal appeals court affirmed a lower court’s $22 million verdict against Cordis Corp., the stent-making arm of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), in a patent infringement case brought by Spectranetics Corp. (NSDQ:SPNC), but sent the case back for consideration of further damages.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a U.S. District Court for Minnesota verdict that awarded $22 million in damages to Spectranetics, after a jury found that Cordis infringed a patent covering a method for cutting stents. Although the jury found that Cordis willfully infringed the patent — opening up the possibility of a triple-damages award — the Minnesota court denied a Spectranetics bid for enhanced damages and legal fees.
The appeals court vacated that decision and sent the case back to the Twin Cities for the lower court to consider the enhanced damages issue using a legal precedent that the “paramount determination in deciding to grant enhancement and the amount thereof is the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct based on all the facts and circumstances,” according to court documents.
“We take note of the district court’s remark that both sides did not exhibit immaculate trial behavior. However, in view of our remand for redetermination of enhancement of damages, reconsideration of the request for attorney fees is also warranted,” Judge Pauline Newman wrote.
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8th Circuit tosses hospital suit against Bard over GPO deals
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit upheld the dismissal of a class-action anti-trust lawsuit against C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR), alleging that the terms of its deals with group purchasing organizations stifle competition and boost prices.
“Bard abuses its dominant position in the catheter market in contracting with GPOs, inflating prices for hospitals,” according to the lawsuit filed by Saint Francis Medical Center, a hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The medical center cited provisions in a Bard deal with Novation including sole-source, tiered pricing and bundling.
But the appeals court disagreed, upholding the U.S. District Court for Missouri’s decision to dismiss the case. It’s the second time the 8th Circuit court has upheld the Missouri ruling.
W.L. Gore hits Bard with another stent patent suit
Win some, lose some, at least if you’re C.R. Bard. Even at it celebrated its 8th Circuit victory, W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. slapped it with a patent infringement lawsuit over a stent patent.
It’s not the first dance for the pair, after Gore wound up on the hook for a $520 million judgment in a prior case that’s now on appeal at the Federal Circuit court. In the current case, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, Gore accuses Bard of violating its patent for an “Intraluminal Stent Graft” with the Fluency Plus tracheobronchial stent graft and the Flair endovascular stent graft.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, judgments of infringement and willful infringement, enhanced damages and legal fees.
Gore, no stranger to the courtroom, is also embroiled in a lawsuit filed by AGA Medical — now a part of St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) — alleging that Gore’s Helex Septal Occluder device employs technology covered by five claims in an AGA patent for “Percutaneous Catheter Directed Constructing Occlusion Device.”
Gore settled another case in 2009 brought against it by Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) over patents covering self‐expanding medical devices that use a metal alloy like nitinol that expands to its original shape after deployment.
U.K. government joins BacLite suit against 3M
The British government is stepping into a lawsuit against 3M Co. (NYSE:MMM) over how it managed an anti-MRSA technology it acquired from a company partially the U.K. Ministry of Defence.
Four years ago, the industrial conglomerate bought a potential breakthrough device from Acolyte, a British company owned by the Porton Group and a subsidiary of the U.K. Ministry of Defence called Ploughshare Innovations. The BacLite device used fluorescent light to detect the antibiotic-resistant superbug.
Attorneys for the Porton Group alleged in mid-May that 3M botched a clinical trial of the device by improperly incubating the bacteria, accusing 3M of sabotaging the study in favor of a more expensive molecular test for MRSA.
The Porton Group and Ploughshare Innovations are seeking $67 million in damages from 3M in a lawsuit that begins this week in the U.K.
Former U.K. Defence Minister and Parliament member Tom Watson called for transparency.
“This is clearly a matter of public interest, both in terms of public health and also in terms of the potential earnings lost to the U.K. taxpayer from sales of this product,” Watson said in a statement released by the Porton Group.
Late yeserday, 3M said the the company abandoned the BacLite technology in 2008 after deeming it not commercially viable.
“The profit motives of the Porton Group and its publicity campaign will have no bearing on our client’s position in the current litigation,” 3M lawyer William A. Brewer III said in prepared remarks.