Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research v. Cochlear Corp. (Central District of California)

On November 4, 2018, the District Court for the Central District of California awarded Alfred Mann Foundation over $268 million in total damages (not including over four years of interest) for Cochlear’s willful infringement of one of the Foundation’s patents. Dan Johnson was lead counsel in the District Court trial in 2014 after having been asked to take over the case just four months before trial and after close of discovery. After a two-week trial, the jury awarded the Foundation over $131 million in damages.  Cochlear appealed the verdict to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled that certain of the patent claims are valid and infringed, returning the matter to the District Court to decide the issue of damages.  On remand, the District Court upheld the $131 million jury damages award, awarded an additional $2.8 million in supplemental damages, and exercised its discretion to enhance damages by doubling both the jury damages award and the supplemental damages because Cochlear’s infringement was willful.  In addition to upholding the jury’s finding of willfulness, the judge’s 75-page opinion also held that the trial tactics employed by Cochlear were unsuccessful and resulted in a waiver of several crucial defenses.