Supreme Court Sides with Stryker in Pivotal Patent Lawsuit over Enhanced Damages


On June 13, 2016, the Supreme Court said in a unanimous decision that the Federal Circuit’s test for awarding damages “up to three times the amount found or assessed” was overly rigid and not justified under the Patent Act. The Court’s ruling now makes it easier for patent holders to collect additional money when their inventions are copied without permission.

The Supreme Court’s decision sends the Stryker v Zimmer and Halo v Pulse Electronics cases back to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration under the new standard. Previously, Stryker and Halo were both denied enhanced damages by the Federal Circuit after winning patent infringement lawsuits.

Stryker is represented by McAndrews attorneys Sharon Hwang, Deborah Laughton and Stephanie Samz.

“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision today. We look forward to pursuing this matter in accordance with the Court’s ruling,” said Hwang.

The Court’s ruling was closely watched and widely reported, with stories appearing in Reuters, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, IP Watchdog, Law 360, World Intellectual Property Review, Associated Press and Patently-O, among others.

In August 2013, Stryker was awarded more than $248 million following a jury’s $70 million verdict that Zimmer willfully infringed three patents related to pulsed lavage irrigation systems. At the time, the decision was listed as the fifth largest IP verdict and 25th largest among all top verdicts in the United States in the National Law Journal’s 2013 “Top 100 Verdicts List.”

In October 2015, the Supreme Court granted McAndrews’ petition for writ of certiorari on behalf of Stryker to consider the legal standard for enhancing damages in patent infringement cases.