On March 31, 2011, the United District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Judge Ward) entered a judgment against Johnson & Johnson and Cordis Corporation in the amount of $583 million. The judgment stems from a patent infringement action filed by Bruce Saffran, M.D., Ph.D. against Johnson & Johnson and Cordis over drug eluting stents (this is not the first time Dr. Saffran has won a large patent case against a medical device maker for drug eluting stents as he previously prevailed on a case against Boston Scientific for over $400 million which has since settled).
In upholding the jury verdict, the Court found that, based on the Court’s earlier claim construction (which the Court declined to reconsider), there was sufficient evidence to support the jury verdict of patent infringement. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted the testimony of plaintiff’s expert and found that a reasonable jury could have relied on the testimony of plaintiff’s expert and that was sufficient to support the finding of infringement.
The Court also rejected defendants’ challenge to the validity of the patent and also noted that the parties had stipulated to use a preponderance of the evidence standard for prior art that was not before the patent office in light of the i4i v. Microsoft case that is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. Such a strategic decision by the plaintiff eliminate a potential ground for reversal of this award in the event that the United States Supreme Court changes the burden of proof for validity challenges.
The Court also found that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury verdict’s damage award. In reviewing the damage award, which was based on a reasonable royalty, the Court noted that the dispute centered over what previous license agreements were appropriate to determine the percentage of a reasonable royalty. The Court found that the licenses relied upon by plaintiff’s expert were sufficiently related to the technology at issue that they were more appropriate to rely upon than the licenses relied upon by defendants’ expert. Accordingly, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury verdict and let stand the $482 million damage award.
The case is Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 2:07-CV-451 (TJW), (E.D. Tex. 2011).
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent litigation lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.