A federal jury awarded Meso Scale Diagnostics more than $137 million in damages against Roche for infringing patents licensed by the Rockville, Maryland-based company.
The jury verdict, which was entered into the case docket in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Tuesday, relates to a long-running dispute over the detection technology used in Roche’s cobas line of immunoassay analyzers.
- Roche brought the case to get the court to declare its use of electrochemiluminescence (ECL) technology did not infringe patents licensed by Meso.
Meso sued Roche over the ECL patents in 2010 only for a court to dismiss its claims several years later. That did not mark the end of the matter, though. According to Roche, Meso has persisted "in making unfounded accusations of infringement ... and threatening to initiate new litigation." The ongoing threat of legal action led Roche to file an action in federal court in Delaware to rule on the party's dispute.
Roche wanted the court to declare that its use of ECL technology does not infringe or violate the patents and rights Meso licensed from BioVeris. The Roche complaint also called for the court to award it costs and expenses.
But Roche didn't get the result it wanted. Instead, it's now on the hook for more than $137 million in damages if the jury award stands. The figure is the sum the jury found represented "a reasonable royalty for Roche's infringement" of the patents at the center of the legal dispute.
The jury came up with the figure after siding with Meso in all aspects of the case. According to the jury, the evidence shows Meso has an exclusive license to the patents and that Roche infringed. To cap it off, the jury ruled that Roche "willfully infringed" the patents.
Nonetheless, the ruling may not be the end of the dispute because a Roche spokesman told MedTech Dive Nov. 26 in an email it was reviewing the decision and exploring its legal options, indicating the company may pursue an appeal.
"Roche is disappointed with the recent jury award in the U.S. regarding its ECL detection technology," the company said. "There is no impact on our ability to offer and distribute our cobas e/Elecsys products to customers, either in the U.S. or in ex-U.S. markets."
Sales at Roche's diagnostic division, which sells the cobas devices, increased 4% over the first nine months of the year. Roche attributed the growth to increased sales of immunodiagnostic testing products.