Medical device giants Zimmer Biomet and Stryker Corp. are getting ready to rumble at a federal appeals court Dec. 3 over the scope of damages awarded in a patent infringement case.
Zimmer is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to reconsider how much it has to pay Stryker for infringing patents covering wound cleaning devices. The case has dragged on for eight years with multiple appeals.
A lot of money is at stake. Zimmer wants the appeals court to throw out the district court’s award of $248.7 million in enhanced damages—which may be one of the largest-ever awards of enhanced damages in a patent infringement case. Zimmer says the award of enhanced damages is out of proportion to its infringing acts.
Patent litigators and patent law professors are divided about whether the full amount of the award is likely to stick.
The appeals court is unlikely to disturb the district court’s damages analysis, Paul Ainsworth, an intellectual property attorney at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., and law professor Timothy R. Holbrook told Bloomberg Law.
“I don’t see the Federal Circuit meddling with the outcome here,” said Holbrook, who teaches at Emory University and is the author of more than 40 publications on patent law.
“I’m not sure that the Federal Circuit is going to delve that deeply into the district court’s analysis as it’s discretionary,” Ainsworth said. Ainsworth’s practice focuses on patent and trade secret disputes, including those involving medical device companies.
By Dana A. Elfin | Bloomberg Law
Image Credit: Paul J. Richards / Getty Images