LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Last Thursday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation (AMF), confirming that defendants Cochlear Corporation and Cochlear, LTD (Cochlear Defendants) infringed on two claims of AMF’s US Patent No. 5,609,616 (‘616 Patent) and remanded the matter to the Federal District Court for the Central District of California to award damages. Additionally, the Circuit Court vacated the District Court’s Order setting aside a jury finding of willful infringement on both infringed patent claims. Finally, the Circuit Court affirmed the District Court’s Order sustaining the Cochlear Defendants’ defense of indefiniteness with respect to two claims of AMF’s US Patent No. 5,938,691 (‘691 Patent).
AMF’s US Patents ‘616 and ‘691 are directed to an ear implant with back-telemetry to monitor implant performance and communicate results in real time to a receiver located outside the patient. The patents generally describe a system comprised of an external wearable processor (WP) and headpiece, as well as an internal implantable cochlear stimulator (ICS). Sound is transmitted from the headpiece to the WP, which processes the transmissions before sending them to the ICS. The ICS processes the sound to stimulate the cochlea––the organ that converts sound to nerve impulses––via implanted electrodes, thereby allowing the user to hear.
“We are pleased that the Circuit Court affirmed the infringement of claim 10, reinstated the jury’s verdict of infringement on Claim 1 of the ‘616 patent, and instructed the District Court to consider the jury’s finding of willful infringement in light of the Supreme Court’s new willfulness standard described in the 2016 Halo v. Stryker decision,” said David Hankin, Chief Executive Officer at AMF.
The case, which has been pending since 2007, was tried before a jury in January 2014. The jury returned a verdict of infringement and validity on all four patent claims, determining in each case the infringement was willful. It awarded compensatory damages of approximately $131.2 million to AMF. In April 2015, the District Court issued an order confirming infringement of one claim of the ‘616 patent, but setting aside the jury’s verdict on three other claims and determining that the infringement on the one remaining claim was not willful. Both AMF and the Cochlear Defendants appealed the District Court’s Order.
About the Alfred Mann Foundation
Founded in 1985 by serial healthcare entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann, the Alfred Mann Foundation for Scientific Research's (AMF) mission is to develop and commercialize innovative solutions for significant unmet or poorly met medical conditions. AMF has developed a myriad of medical devices that change the lives of patients across the globe, including the cochlear implant that enables deaf people to hear, several diabetes products, numerous products in the neuromodulation space for the eradication of pain, and recovery of function. AMF spin-out companies include Axonics Modulation Technologies, Inc.; Medallion Therapeutics; Monolythix, Inc. and Bioness, Inc. AMF is located in Santa Clarita, California.