Sunday, April 20, 2014

Varian Settles Patent Case with University of Pittsburgh for $35 Million

Case Filed: Aug 03, 2012

Case Closed: Apr 10, 2014

Origin Cases: 2:08-cv-01307 / 3:08-cv-02973

Case Summary:

University of Pittsburgh (UPitt) initially filed a complaint against Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto, California in California Northern District Court alleging that Varian infringed various claims of the University’s patent for radiotherapy equipment used in cancer treatment. The patent at issue was: US5727554 entitled ‘Apparatus responsive to movement of a patient during treatment/diagnosis’ and was issued on Mar 17, 1998. The patent is scheduled to expire[i] by Sep 19, 2016 and is currently assigned[ii] to UPitt (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database).

The claimed technology is intended to improve radiation therapy by reducing damage to healthy tissue by synchronizing a radiation treatment beam with a patient’s movements, the Court document said.

UPitt alleged that Varian infringed the ‘554 patent by manufacturing Clinac or Trilogy devices incorporated with Respiratory Gating System (RPM System) that embody or practice the claims of the ‘554 patent and stated that infringement was willful, thereby entitling damages to UPitt. 

After construing numerous terms of the ’554 patent, the district court entered partial summary judgment in favor of UPitt, finding that Varian’s accused products infringe the asserted claims of the ’554 patent.

The district court then held three separate trials including willfulness trial, followed by a damages trial and a validity trial. At end of the trial, UPitt was awarded with approximately $37,000,000. Court considering the post-judgment sales, willfulness and pre-judgment interest, awarded UPitt a total sum slightly over $100,000,000. The district court also awarded Pitt attorneys’ fees totaling $9,200,000.

Varian appealed challenging the district court’s decision on

  •         claim construction of claims 20 and 22
  •         finding that its accused products infringe claim 20
  •         its infringement was willful
  •         the damages award in connection with claims 22 and 38.
Appeal Court concluded the case by affirming the district court’s construction of claim 20 and that Varian infringes claim 20. Consequently, vacated the portion of the damages award based on claim 22, but affirmed the portion based on claim 38.

Varian Medical Systems announced that it has settled patent litigation with the UPitt and will pay a lump sum of approximately $35 million to fully settle this matter. 

See 2012-1575 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

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[i] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents
[ii] MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded.

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