A recent decision by a federal jury spells bad news for Zimmer. Following a protracted patent spat, a federal jury awarded Stryker $70 million following three cases of willful patent infringement by Zimmer.
According to a recent article in Bloomberg, the $70 million payout is not yet guaranteed. A spokesman at Zimmer told reporters that the company plans to appeal the decision.
The patent spat originates from issues over Zimmer’s Pulsavac wound debridement system. The system was developed by the surgical division of Zimmer. The device uses a pulsing jet of saline or water to clear a surgical site for a joint replacement operation. In 2012, Zimmer’s surgical division pulled in an estimated $386 million in sales. On the other side, MedSurg Equipment, a subsidiary of Styrker, carries very similar products. In 2012, this Stryker subsidiary pulled in an estimated $386 million.
Greg Vogler is a Chicago lawyer for the firm McAndrews, Held & Malloy. His firm represented Stryker in the lawsuit. In prepared remarks shared with Bloomberg, he said, “Stryker has some pioneering inventions [which Zimmer] took recklessly and judgement day came.
Patients protection plays a critical role in the medical device industry. In particular, devices with a substantial equivalence to other devices currently on the market don’t have to go through regular FDA 510(k) approval. While Zimmer may not be forced to pull its product from the market, it may end up paying significant royalties for a long time.
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