Monday, April 4, 2011

Judge Ward Affirms $482,000,000 Damages Award, But Overturns Willfulness Finding

The court denied defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law that the jury's verdict of $482,000,000 (based on a royalty rate of 5.6%) was not supported by the evidence. "A reasonable jury could determine, based on [the] evidence, that the 1% royalty was not a good baseline in this case because [plaintiff] will not be being paid research fees and to manufacture the coating for the stents. . . . The fact that the Plaintiff was asking for 7% and the Defendants were asking for 0.7% and the jury found approximately 5.6% does not mean such a finding was not supported by substantial evidence." . . . However, the court granted defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law that there was no willful infringement where there was no objectively high likelihood that their actions constituted infringement. "[A]lthough that fact does not automatically immunize an accused infringer from a finding of willfulness, the record developed in this case shows that Defendants presented objectively reasonable and substantial defenses to infringement and validity. Further, the fact that certain facts were not presented to the jury, such as the close issue of claim construction, does not preclude the court to consider them in its determination, as a matter of law, whether the first prong of [In re Seagate Tech. LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007)] is met. In this case, the issue of claim construction was close and Defendants‘ proposed interpretation for the claims, although eventually not adopted, was reasonable and based upon the specification and prosecution history of the [patent-in-suit]."

Saffran, M.D., Ph.D., v. Johnson & Johnson, et. al., 2-07-cv-00451 (TXED March 31, 2011, Order) (Ward, J.)

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