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CALIFORNIA | HEALTH | THE STATE

Firm Wins $20.5 Million in Patent Case

June 13, 1997|(James S. Granelli)

An Orange County maker of surgical devices has won $20.5 million against industry giant U.S. Surgical Corp. in a patent-infringement case involving abdominal tubes used for less-invasive operations. Privately held Applied Medical Resources Corp. of Laguna Hills had won a jury verdict of more than $15 million and an unusual finding that U.S. Surgical had willfully violated its patents. The finding gave the judge who presided over the case the option of trebling the damages. But, in a decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Va., added only $5 million more. The judge also issued an injunction barring U.S. Surgical from using the devices, called trocars. U.S. Surgical has already redesigned its version of the devices, spokesman Steve Rose said. Norwalk, Conn.-based U.S. Surgical, self-insured for such awards, said it will set the money aside from earnings this quarter while it appeals the case. Its shares rose $1.125 to close at $32.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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