The vaunted Kirkland & Ellis IP team added another trophy trial win to its very crowded shelf last week. After a week-long trial, a jury in Delaware federal district court awarded Kirkland's client, Siemens Medical Solutions USA, $52.3 million in a patent infringement case against Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics. The firm's young gun, 38-year-old Gregg LoCascio, was lead trial counsel. His opponent was veteran trial lawyer Fred Whitmer of Thelen Reid.
Siemens alleged, in a complaint filed in 2007, that Saint-Gobain infringed a patent for crystals used in its PET scanners. LoCascio told us that at trial, Saint-Gobain argued that its crystals were made with yittrium, which is not found in the Seimens crystal, so it was not liable for infringement. But Siemens countered that it was the performance of the crystal that mattered and that under the test of equivalence, Saint-Gobain's use of yittrium was insubstantial.
Making the case a little more interesting was the role of Phillips Healthcare. Saint-Gobain doesn't actually make its own PET scanner--just the crystals used in a PET scanner made by Philips Healthcare. So even though Philips was not a defendant in this case, LoCascio explained to us, the jury had to find that Philips was a direct infringer before it could find Saint-Gobain had infringed Siemens' patent. LoCascio was cagey about Siemens' plans for Phillips, saying only that the rival PET scan maker is not a defendant in a pending case "at this time" but that he couldn't comment on whether it would be in the future.
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