KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp. is due $248.7 million from rival Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. in a seven-year-old federal lawsuit over patent infringement.
Citing a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that clarified a standard for awarding triple damages, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker last week ordered the Warsaw, Ind.-based Zimmer Biomet to pay the judgment.
After a jury sided with Stryker, Jonker in late 2013 ruled that Zimmer had willfully violated Stryker’s patents on a device used to clean wounds during an orthopedic surgical procedure. He award the Kalamazoo-based company $70 million for lost profits and damages, plus additional damages and attorney fees.
Because the violation was willful and egregious, the judge awarded Stryker triple damages. Zimmer later convinced an appeals court to reverse the ruling that it had acted willfully, thereby lowering the damages.
After the Supreme Court decision a year ago in a case involving two electronics companies — and after the appeals court sent the case back to him — Jonker on July 12 affirmed his earlier ruling for triple damages, which now comes to $248.7 million.
“In simplest terms, the Court believes that its and the jury’s original fact findings against Zimmer, coupled with multiple legal changes that actually make it easier to enhance damages and make exceptional case findings, fully support the Court’s original awards in the case,” Judge Jonker wrote in his ruling.
“The ability of Zimmer’s trial and appellate counsel to craft some post hoc litigation defenses that the Federal Circuit found objectively reasonable does not undermine the jury’s and this Court’s conclusion that Zimmer’s overall conduct was a case of egregious piracy warranting fully enhanced damages and attorney fees.”
Zimmer Biomet (NYSE: ZBH) in 2016 recorded sales of $7.64 billion with net income of $302.9 million.
Stryker (NYSE: SYK) had 2016 sales of $11.32 billion and net income of $1.67 billion.