IBJNews

Zimmer told to pay Stryker $228 million in patent case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana-based Zimmer Holdings Inc., which lost a February trial against Stryker Corp. over a surgical device, was told to pay more than $228 million—three times the jury award plus other costs—and stop selling its products.

The increase in the jury award was appropriate because Zimmer intentionally infringed Stryker patents to build its business for pulsed lavage, a technique that removes damaged tissue and cleans bones during joint-replacement surgery, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said in an order issued Wednesday. He also ordered Zimmer to stop selling its Pulsavac Plus device.

A federal jury in Grand Rapids, Mich., in February sided with Stryker and awarded $70 million in damages. The dispute is over devices that use pulsing liquid, such as water or saline solution, to loosen debris from a surgical site and remove it by suction.

“A $70 million verdict sounds large in the abstract, but in context, it may not be enough, without enhancement, to deter infringing conduct,” Jonker wrote in his opinion. Tripling the award is appropriate “given the one-sidedness of the case and the flagrancy and scope of Zimmer’s infringement.”

The $228 million figure is more than the second-quarter profit for either company. Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker reported $213 million in earnings on sales of $2.2 billion. Zimmer, based in Warsaw, reported $152 million in earnings on $1.17 billion in sales.

The judge awarded $210 million after tripling the $70 million jury award, then added another $7 million for infringing sales that weren’t covered by the verdict, $11.2 million for interest, as well as attorney’s fees, said Stryker lawyer Greg Vogler of McAndrews Held & Malloy in Chicago.

The judge’s 58-page opinion outlines Stryker’s innovation in coming up with a portable lavage device to replace bulky machines that were wheeled around a hospital. Zimmer was losing market share, so it hired someone to “make one for us,” which resulted in a product that looked and functioned like Stryker’s.

Zimmer recouped some market share until it was forced to pull its product from the market in 2007 because of technical problems and complaints, the judge said. It re-entered the market in December 2008, he said.

“Zimmer chose a high-risk/high-reward strategy of competing immediately and aggressively in the pulsed lavage market and opted to worry about the potential legal consequences later,” the judge said.

While judges can increase damages by as much as three times based on a finding of intentional infringement, a tripling of the award rarely happens.

“This is clearly one of those cases where it’s appropriate,” Vogler said. “Stryker came up with a pioneering invention that made all prior products for this procedure obsolete. Zimmer thought they couldn’t live without it and copied it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

ADVERTISEMENT