On November 14, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware denied in part and granted in part defendant ConforMIS, Inc.’s motion to dismiss Bonutti Skeletal Innovations, LLC’s joint infringement and willful infringement claims. According to ConforMIS’s complaint in a related case, Bonutti Skeletal is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp. According to ConforMIS’s website, ConforMIS provides knee implants and instrumentation.
On September 10, 2012, Bonutti Skeletal filed its complaint against ConforMIS for direct and joint infringement of U.S. Patent 7,806,896, entitled “Knee Arthroplasty Method.” Figure 1 from the ‘896 patent is shown below.
Bonutti Skeletal’s joint infringement claim alleges that ConforMIS infringed the ‘896 patent by “encouraging, promoting and inducing surgeons, physicians and medical professionals to use and implant within the United States ConforMIS knee implants and/or to use ConforMIS surgical instruments in a manner that practices the method of at least one claim of the ‘896 patent.”
ConforMIS’s motion to dismiss argued that Bonutti Skeletal’s joint infringement and willful infringement claims failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court denied ConforMIS’s motion with respect to the willful infringement claim. However, the court granted ConforMIS’s motion to dismiss with respect to the joint infringement claim, stating that “[i]n order to adequately plead joint infringement, a complaint must set forth facts from which the court may infer that one party so thoroughly controls the entire performance of the claimed method that the steps that the party does not complete are nevertheless attributable to that party.”
Bonutti Skeletal has filed lawsuits against other defendants relating to the ‘896 patent, including against DePuy Mitek, Inc., Biomet, Inc., Smith & Nephew, Inc., Zimmer, Inc., and Wright Medical Group. With exception of the lawsuit against Biomet, which has been dismissed with prejudice, these lawsuits remain pending. In addition, Biomet and ConforMIS have filed complaints against Bonutti in separate lawsuits.