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Zimmer Told to Pay Stryker $70 Million in Patent Case

Zimmer Holdings Inc. was told to pay $70 million to Stryker Corp. for infringing patents related to a device that removes damaged tissue and cleans bones during joint-replacement surgery.

Zimmer infringed three Stryker patents, a federal jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said today. The jury also found the infringement was willful, meaning U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker can increase the award.

The dispute is over devices that use pulsing liquid, such as water or saline solution, to loosen debris from a surgical site and remove it by suction. The process clears the area for the doctors to see better during orthopedic surgery.

“Stryker has some pioneering inventions,” said Greg Vogler, a lawyer at McAndrews Held & Malloy in Chicago, who represented Stryker in the trial. “Zimmer just took them recklessly and judgment day came.”

Stryker’s claim targeted Zimmer’s Pulsavac products, which compete with Stryker’s Surgilav and InterPulse machines.

The Pulsavac wound debridement system is part of Warsaw, Indiana-based Zimmer’s surgical unit, which generated $386 million in sales last year, or about 9 percent of the company’s revenue, Zimmer said Jan. 31.

Pursuing Appeal

“Zimmer is disappointed with the verdict and plans to pursue all available post-trial relief including an appeal in due course,” said Garry Clark, a spokesman for Zimmer.

Stryker’s MedSurg Equipment unit, which includes sales of surgical supplies like the SurgiLav and InterPulse, generated $3.27 billion in sales last year, more than a third of the company’s revenue, the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based device-maker reported Jan. 23.

Stryker said it was entitled to damages dating back to 2004. Zimmer, which said Stryker wasn’t entitled to anything, said any compensation should be limited to products sold after December 2010. The jury found that almost $255 million worth of Zimmer sales since the products were introduced infringed at least two of the patents.

The case is Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer Inc., 10cv1223, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Grand Rapids).

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