5 Times Small Firms Brought Patent Challenges: Heraeus vs Biomet

Heraeus vs Biomet

Heraeus Kulzer GmbH alleged in December 2008 that Biomet, Inc. and Biomet Europe BV, and other subsidiaries misappropriated Heraeus trade secrets for the Biomet Europe Refobacin and Biomet Bone Cement line, according to a Zimmer Biomet SEC filing. In December 2012, all entities but Biomet Orthopaedics Switzerland GmbH were dismissed from the suit. 

Heraeus appealed, and in June 2014 the German appeals court issued a judgment—not final—that prohibits Biomet, Inc., Biomet Europe BV, and Biomet Deutschland GmbH from making, selling, or offering European Cements that have specified raw materials; held these entities liable for sales damages since 2005; and decided that no further review may be requested. According to the Zimmer Biomet SEC filing, the defendants are seeing review of the not-final judgment by Germany's Supreme Court.

The above Biomet entities are fighting imposition of the market prohibition to areas outside of Germany and filed a declaratory action in Germany in August 2014 to have a court resolve the geographic reach of the decision, according to the SEC filing.

Heraeus has also filed a lawsuit against a Biomet supplier alleging it helpd Biomet create copolymers using the allegedly misappropriated trade secrets. In November 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Heraeus' request for a temporary restraining order, according to the SEC filing.

In October 2016, Heraeus brought expedited proceedings against Biomet France, Biomet SAS, Biomet Europe BV, Biomet, Inc., Biomet Orthopedics Switzerland GmbH, and Biomet Global Supply Chain Center BV with a request that these entities be prohibited from importing some raw materials. Soon after, the SEC filing stated, the judge of the Commercial Court in Paris ruled no jurisdiction over Biomet, Inc. and later denied Heraeus' preliminary measures.

In December 2015, Heraeus brough a case against Biomet France, Biomet SAS, and Biomet France Holding before the Commercial Court of Roman-Sur-Isere asking for access to documents that had been seized from Biomet France property, according to the SEC filing.

Did it pay off for Heraeus? We say—too soon to say, but Heraeus has seen a win—so far—in Germany.

         

 

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