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Cochlear Loses $131.2 Million Verdict in Patent Lawsuit

Cochlear Ltd., an Australian maker of hearing implants, lost a infringement trial over patents related to the devices in Los Angeles, with the jury awarding $131.2 million in damages to the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research.

The jury found that a group of Cochlear’s implants, sound processors and software infringed two of the foundation’s patents, according to the verdict yesterday in federal court. The jury also found that the infringement was willful and rejected Cochlear’s argument that the patents were invalid.

Cochlear said in a statement today that it believes that the facts and the law don’t support the jury’s findings and that it will ask the judge to overturn the verdict and, if needed, file and appeal.

“No judgment has been entered based on the verdict as important issues still remain to be decided by the judge,” the company said. “These decisions may negate some of the findings of the jury and could alter the damages awarded by the jury.”

The Santa Clarita, California-based Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research, a nonprofit medical research foundation, filed the lawsuit in 2007. The patents were exclusively licensed to Advanced Bionics LLC, according to Cochlear’s statement.

Alfred E. Mann founded 17 companies and sold nine of them for a total of almost $8 billion, according to the website of the Alfred Mann Foundation. He sold Advanced Bionics Corp., which he had started in 1993, to Boston Scientific Corp. in 2004, according to the website.

He and others bought back part of Advanced Bionics in 2008, according to the website. In 2010, Sonova Holdings AG bought Advanced Bionics for $489 million.

The case is Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research v. Cochlear Corp., 07-08108, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)

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