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C. R. Bard Wins Final Chapter of Vascular Graft Patent Case

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Federal District Court in Arizona has again rejected W.L. Gore’s arguments and found that Gore’s infringement of a valuable patent, related to a prosthetic vascular grafts and owned by C.R. Bard, was willful and objectively reckless. The orders issued on October 17 by Circuit Judge Mary H. Murguia are attached.

After affirming the 2007 jury verdict, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded for reconsideration the trial court’s denial of Gore’s post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, after the appellate court clarified the legal standard for willful patent infringement. The presiding judge for the trial has since been elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but sat by designation to decide the remanded issue. In addition to finding for a second time that Gore’s infringement was willful, Judge Murguia granted C.R. Bard’s motion to execute on the portion of the judgment that is final and not subject to appeal, an amount over $800 million.

This decision brings closer to conclusion a long-standing dispute between Gore and inventor Dr. David Goldfarb, who invented the pioneering patented prosthetic vascular graft in 1974. Dr. Goldfarb and C.R. Bard were awarded the patent in 2002, after an decades-long dispute in the Patent Office with Gore was resolved in Dr. Goldfarb’s favor. The jury initially rendered its verdict in December 2007, awarding $185 million in damages. Judge Murguia later doubled those damages based on Gore’s willful infringement. Through the middle of 2013, counting interest, royalties and other judgments, the amount awarded totals over $1 billion.

Latham & Watkins LLP was lead trial counsel and has continued to represent Bard in the appeal, led by the firm’s IP Litigation co-chair Max Grant and Appellate chair Greg Garre, who are both based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

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