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Wright Medical Technology Receives Favorable Court Ruling Against Howmedica

Wright Medical Technology Inc. (Wright Medical Technology) has received a favorable summary judgment in its patent infringement case filed by Howmedica Osteonics, Corp. (Howmedica), a subsidiary of Stryker Corporation (Stryker). In 2000, Howmedica sued Wright Medical Technology for patent infringement, alleging that Wright Medical Technology's ADVANCE knee implants infringe Howmedica’s US Patent 5,824,100.

Stryker later acquired Howmedica and continued to pursue the infringement claim. Howmedica’s lawsuit seeks an order of infringement, injunctive relief, unspecified damages and various other costs and relief and could impact a substantial portion of our knee product line.

In November 2005, the District Court issued a Markman ruling on claim construction. Howmedica conceded to the District Court that, if the claim construction as issued was applied to Wright Medical Technology knee product line, Wright Medical Technology products do not infringe their patent. Howmedica appealed the Markman ruling. In September 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the District Court’s Markman ruling on claim construction. The case was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings on alleged infringement and on Wright Medical Technology affirmative defenses, which include patent invalidity and unenforceability.

On remand, the District Court granted summary judgment in Wright Medical Technology favor, ruling that Stryker’s asserted patent is invalid. The District Court agreed with Wright Medical Technology argument that every feature in Stryker’s asserted patent claims is disclosed in prior art.

As a result of the District Court’s ruling on patent invalidity, Stryker cannot pursue its claim of patent infringement. However, Stryker has the right to appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Wright Medical Technology believe, however, that the company have strong defenses against Howmedica’s claims and will continue to vigorously defend this lawsuit. If Stryker does not appeal, or if it loses on appeal, the case will be concluded.