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Court Triples Damages Stratagene Must Pay Invitrogen for Willfully Infringing IP; Tab Now $16.2M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — A US court has awarded Invitrogen $16.2 million in damages in a patent-infringement case against Stratagene, tripling an earlier jury award, Stratagene disclosed today.
 
Stratagene said it would appeal the award and challenge the validity of Invitrogen’s patent that is at the center of the suit.
 
In a decision filed yesterday by the District Court for the Western District of Texas, Judge Sam Sparks ruled that Stratagene willfully infringed Invitrogen’s US Patent No. 4,981,797. The patent covers a process for developing competent cell products, which the jury and judge agreed Stratagene infringed by making and selling its competent E. coli cell products between 1997 to 2004.
 
The willful infringement, however, only applies to the period between May 23, 1997, and Nov. 2, 2001, according to court documents.
 
The judge’s decision to triple the damages comes after the jury in the case in July found Stratagene guilty of infringing the patent and awarded Invitrogen roughly $7.9 million in damages.
 
One month later Invitrogen asked the court to triple the damages, citing willful infringement, according to GenomeWeb News sister publication BioCommerce Week.
 
In finding willful infringement, the court tripled a portion of the previously awarded damages and increased the amount to a total of $16.2 million. The court also ruled that Stratagene must pay pre-judgment interest on the damage award and reasonable attorneys’ fees to Invitrogen in an amount to be determined.
 
In a statement today, Stratagene said it believes the facts of the case and the law do not support the jury’s verdict or the damages that have been awarded to Invitrogen, and it intends appeal the decision.
 
“Stratagene will be challenging the finding of the validity of the patent, the appropriateness of the damages determined by the jury, the trebling of a portion of the amount by the court, and the award of attorney’s fees,” the firm said in the statement.
 
Stratagene said it currently has approximately $16.6 million in unrestricted cash, and a $9-million revolving line of credit in place with a zero balance currently outstanding.

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