Oregon Jury Awards More than $14.5 Million in Patent Dispute

June 13, 2008

A federal jury ordered a medical equipment manufacturer to pay more than $14.5 million in a patent infringement dispute that involves a device invented by a Portland, Ore. physician.

Dr. John O. Hayhurst and Smith & Nephew hold a patent for a device called an anchor. It allows doctors to reattach tissue to bone and is mostly used in shoulder surgeries, said Joe Metzger, a spokesman for Smith & Nephew, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer.

If another company wants to make the device, it must pay royalties. A lawsuit filed in Portland in 2004 claimed that the Florida-based Arthrex had been selling its own version without paying any money.

Because the jury determined that Arthrex acted intentionally, the judge has the authority to triple the verdict and award attorney fees.

No date has been set for the judge to decide whether to do that, but a lawyer for Arthrex said Wednesday’s verdict is far from the end of the story.

“There’s no question there will be an appeal in the case,” said Rodger D. Young, who argued that the Arthrex device works differently than the one invented by Hayhurst.

Smith & Nephew plans to seek an injunction prohibiting Arthrex from further manufacturing or selling the infringing devices in the United States.

“We are extremely pleased with the jury’s decision,” said Mike Frazzette, president of the company, adding that it stands committed “to protecting our intellectual property and the surgeons who work with us to develop them.”

Source: The Oregonian.

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