Stryker awarded $248.7 million in patent case against Zimmer
By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) – A U.S. judge has increased the amount medical device maker Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc must pay Stryker Corp for infringing patents on a surgical cleaning wand to $248.7 million following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Wednesday came after the Supreme Court in June 2016 ruled for Stryker in finding that judges should have more discretion to boost penalties in patent infringement cases.
Stryker declined to comment on Thursday. Zimmer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Stryker that claimed its competitor’s Pulsavac Plus device for cleaning wounds during orthopedic surgical procedures infringed three of its patents.
In 2013, a federal jury awarded Stryker $70 million in lost profits and found Warsaw, Indiana-based Zimmer’s conduct to have been willful.
Jonker later that year ruled Stryker deserved triple damages based on the “flagrancy and scope of Zimmer’s infringement.” With other fees, the award came to $228 million.
On appeal, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s top patent court, upheld the jury’s finding of infringement, but reversed on willfulness, which had been the basis for tripling the damages.
But the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2016 said that court’s test for determining willful infringement was too rigid and allowed some egregious infringers to escape liability.
The Federal Circuit in September subsequently sent the case back to Jonker to determine whether Stryker deserved enhanced patent infringement damages under the Supreme Court’s changed standard for awarding them.
In his decision on Wednesday, Jonker reaffirmed his original award of enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees.
“In simplest terms, the Court believes that its and the jury’s original fact findings against Zimmer, coupled with multiple legal changes that actually make it easier to enhance damages and make exceptional case findings, fully support the Court’s original awards in the case,” Jonker wrote.
The case is Stryker Corp, et al, v. Zimmer Inc, et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, No. 10-cv-1223.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Bernadette Baum