Cochlear facing $150m penalty from patent case

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 24 January, 2014

Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) is facing a US$131.2 million ($149.8 million) damages bill after a Californian jury found the company to be liable of patent infringement.

The jury found that Cochlear had engaged in direct, contributory and willful infringement of two patents held by the plaintiff, the Alfred E Mann Foundation for Scientific Research (AMF).

The case is not yet closed, as the judge still has to decide on some important matters before issuing a formal verdict.

Cochlear CEO Dr Chris Roberts said the company plans to fight any negative verdict. “We strongly disagree with the jury verdict and will appeal any judgement entered against Cochlear by the Court,” he said.

AMF first filed the lawsuit in 2007, alleging infringement of two patents covering testing systems and methods for a cochlear implant. AMF exclusively licensed the two patents to Advanced Bionics, a Cochlear rival, in 2009. Advanced Bionics was a co-plaintiff in the case.

One patent has expired already and the other is due to expire in March, so Cochlear said it does not expect the verdict to have any impact on its US business or customers.

Cochlear (ASX:COH) shares were trading 1.91% lower at $58.95 as of around 2 pm on Friday.

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